Aided by two own-goals and some spectacular goalkeeping — courtesy of Adrianna Franch — the Portland Thorns enter this weekend after a miraculous 2-1 victory over the North Carolina Courage. This time, they’re facing off against the Washington Spirit, a team who have been in a bit of a slump as of late. The Thorns are undefeated at home against the Spirit, with a record of 5-0-3 at Providence Park.
However, that doesn’t promise an easy win for Portland; Washington came away with the 3-1 win when the teams met this May. On top of that, Gabby Seiler announced that she tore her ACL in training yesterday, and Franch is listed as questionable on this week’s Injury Report.
“The Washington Spirit have an uncanny knack of getting results against the Thorns: They handed Portland their first loss of the season in a strange game in the SoccerPlex, where the Thorns conceded two goals from corners. Since then, the Spirit haven’t scored any corners, and the Thorns haven’t conceded any. A big part of this is down to Britt Eckerstrom’s work on her aerial game (which has always been a big part of AD Franch’s goalkeeping skill set); if it turns out she does need to step in, Thorns fans shouldn’t be too worried.
The Spirit still have the joint-best defensive record in the league (alongside Utah), and they thrive on slowing games down to keep them as tight as possible. Up against a Thorns team that has punished defenses for dallying on the ball and moving too slowly in recent weeks, it seems as though Washington should be forced to adjust their game. Andi Sullivan has been one of the revelations of the World Cup season, getting back to the composure on the ball that garnered her a number one draft pick. Their solidity under pressure was tested severely in their loss to Chicago, however, and the Thorns are likely to be more aggressive in midfield.”
How to Watch
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
When: Saturday, August 17, 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 8-3-6, 1st place in the NWSL, won 2-1 vs North Carolina Courage
Washington Spirit: 6-6-3, 7th place in the NWSL, lost 1-0 vs Chicago Red Stars