The Thorns return home to go up against their Cascadia rivals the Seattle Reign in the Lifetime Game of the Week. Despite a few absences remaining, the Thorns are approaching full health, filling their bench for the first time all season last week. Tobin Heath may make her first start of the season.
Portland’s last two games were both pretty narrow draws in which the team felt as though they could have gotten more. Seattle’s best attacking threat in the opening part of the season, Megan Rapinoe, is out but the team is starting to put together some decent offense without her, including through former Thorn Allie Long. It should be a typical Portland-Seattle game: full of energy and hard tackles.
Seattle play in a similar style as the Utah Royals do: Laura Harvey and Vlatko Andonovski both love high-pressing teams that dominate the midfield. Harvey achieved a measure of success with this tactic last weekend; whether the Thorns can meet the challenge again this Saturday will determine an awful lot of the game. Parsons admitted that this is the way he’d expect teams to line up. “The first thing I’d do if I were playing the Thorns,” he said, “would be stop the midfield, stop Lindsey [Horan] from getting on the ball as much as possible. I thought they did a good job on all three midfielders, but the space to break pressure was there [against Utah]. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t. Seattle’s going to be very similar in how they press the midfield.”
Watch it on: Lifetime (USA), NWSLSoccer.com (international)
Where: Providence Park in Portland OR
When: Saturday, May 5th at 12:30 p.m. PT
Portland Thorns: 2-1-2, 3rd place in the NWSL, drew 1-1 against Utah Royals
Seattle Reign: 2-1-1, 5th place in the NWSL, drew 1-1 against Orlando Pride