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Portland Thorns vs Seattle Reign semifinal: Previews, how to watch, match thread [12:00]

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Kris Lattimore

The playoffs are upon us. Portland takes on the Seattle Reign for the last time in 2018, to determine who goes on to the NWSL Championship next Saturday. The winner of this game will face the winner of North Carolina/Chicago, also to take place at Providence on Tuesday night. Besides being a semifinal, this is a rematch of last week’s game; it’s also the first time these Cascadia rivals have met in the playoffs. In short, it promises to be a wild ride.

The Reign have Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long listed as questionable. For the Thorns, Hayley Raso and Katherine Reynolds are out.

Previews

Storylines:

“As important as personnel is, what may be just as important is the psychological factor. The Reign will have gone into this week of training with a chip on their shoulder after that loss. A single-leg playoff game is plenty of motivation in itself; add to that a desire to come back strong after a frustrating defeat to a rival, and Seattle is going to be hungry coming into this game.

Seattle are a better team than they looked like last week. Not only that, but they’re led by the winningest coach in NWSL history. I’m not going to try and guess what kind of tricks Andonovski might have up his sleeve, tactically, but it’s fairly likely he has something. As Parsons pointed out a few weeks ago, the Macedonian-born coach has historically been able to adjust his approach for playoff games, finding success against Seattle in 2014 and 2015 by sitting deep and attacking on the counter, which isn’t normally his style. The Thorns have to be prepared to adjust mid-game, if it comes to that.”

This week’s Red Smoke Radio also previewed the game.

How to Watch

How to watch: Lifetime, NWSLSoccer.com for international viewers

Where: Providence Park, Portland, OR

When: Saturday, September 15, 12pm noon PT

Portland Thorns: 12-6-6, second in the NWSL, 3-1 win vs Seattle Reign

Seattle Reign: 11-5-8, third in the NWSL, 1-3 loss at Portland Thorns