The Thorns play their final regular-season match this evening against the Seattle Reign, a contest that will likely determine playoff seeding for both teams. A Portland win means the Thorns end up in second and host a semifinal match against the Reign. A draw would put them in third place and send them to Seattle, while a loss would put them in either third or fourth, depending on the result of Chicago-Utah tomorrow.
Portland will be missing Hayley Raso after the winger suffered a fractured spine against the Spirit, and Meghan Klingenberg is listed as questionable due to an adductor strain. Seattle, meanwhile, has Megan Rapinoe, Allie Long, and Bev Yanez all in the questionable column.
“Seattle, like Vlatko Andonovski’s previous teams, are first and foremost a defensively strong team. ‘They defend as an eleven,’ said Parsons this week. ‘They don’t leave dangerous spaces and spaces in the final third... So it’s up to the opposition. If you want that dangerous space, you’re going to have to invite them out. What drags a center back out of being where a center back wants to be?’
On this Thorns team, lots of things can drag a center back out of position. Tobin Heath either drawing defenders to the wing or cutting inside in front of the back line is one thing. Another is Caitlin Foord, perhaps making dangerous runs to link up with Heath in one of those areas.”
This week’s Red Smoke Radio also previewed the match.
How to watch
How to watch: Lifetime, NWSLSoccer.com for international viewers
Where: Providence Park, Portland, OR
When: Friday, September 7, 7:00 pm PT
Portland Thorns: 11-6-6, third in the NWSL, 1-0 win at Washington Spirit
Seattle Reign: 11-4-8, second in the NWSL, 1-1 draw vs North Carolina Courage