After a 2-2 draw against the Utah Royals, the Portland Thorns (6-2-5) make their way back to Providence Park, where they’ll take on the Houston Dash (4-5-4). With both teams on short rest — but Portland coming off less travel and slightly more recovery time — the Thorns will hope to extend their eight game unbeaten streak over the Dash.
The last meeting between the two sides saw Portland come from behind in BBVA Stadium to put up a 2-1 victory. Although goals from Tyler Lussi and Midge Purce proved enough to carry the Thorns over the top, both players are now hard-pressed to earn minutes in Portland’s incredibly deep forward pool — a challenge made greater still by Tobin Heath’s return to the Thorns.
After a lengthy road stretch to open the season, this match marks Heath’s — and the rest of the USWNT players’ — first home game of the year. The World Cup stars will be honored before the game to celebrate the occasion.
“The Thorns are in a bit of a strange place at the moment: They’re in decent form on the table and, again, are top of the league, but they’re largely unhappy with their past three performances. Thorns head coach, Mark Parsons, said in training on Monday that, ‘Our results and our points are ahead of where we thought we would be, but our performance is behind.’ The team looks a little unsettled defensively and unsure of itself creatively at the moment, and although the quality in the team is guiding them through relatively well, the team is honest about their need to improve.
Parsons freely admitted that his team didn’t create as many scoring opportunities as they would have liked on Friday: ‘We were in the driving seat in all areas, but we weren’t creating chances in the first half. We had a lot of set pieces, which made us feel like we were in the final third, and Utah did a much better job in the second half. They made us look more like a back three than we have all season.’”
How to Watch
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
When: Wednesday, July 24, 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 6-2-5, 1st place in the NWSL, drew 2-2 at Utah Royals FC
Houston Dash: 4-5-4, 7th place in the NWSL, won 2-1 at Washington Spirit