The Portland Thorns (5-1-4) got away from Houston with all three points and a win that took them to the top of the NWSL, and now Reign FC (4-1-5) come into town for the first rivalry game of the NWSL season.
The Reign have been quietly putting together one of the best units in the NWSL on the back of their strong defensive play, but their poor injury luck has depleted their team. Jess Fishlock, the latest casualty, is out for the season with an ACL injury picked up in her previous game. Former Thorn Ifeoma Onumonu has been playing well and is likely to start on her first return to Providence Park.
While the first ten minutes of last week’s match against the Dash showcased a style that’s become characteristic of the Thorns — building up attacks, working the ball through the midfield, being patient and waiting for the right moments to strike — the rest of the game saw a return to the more direct play that we’ve seen as of late. Trying to weather Houston’s attacking pressure, Portland ended up looking like the less dangerous team for a significant portion of the match.
“What changed the game: Tyler Lussi [who came off the bench to score Portland’s first goal and assist the second] was an unbelievable spark for us and the mentality,” Parsons said. “That’s where I think that we’ve taken big leaps and moved our team and our club to a new place, with the mentality that this group has shown.”
How to Watch
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
When: Friday, July 5, 8:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 5-1-4, 1st place in the NWSL, won 2-1 vs Houston Dash
Reign FC: 4-1-5, 3rd place in the NWSL, won 2-0 at Utah Royals