Coming off a dominant 3-1 win over the Washington Spirit, the Portland Thorns face off against the Chicago Red Stars for the third time this season. When the sides met in June, Midge Purce scored a brace trick on the way to a 3-0 Portland victory. In April, it was who Christine Sinclair came through with a Thorns brace. Sinclair now leads Portland in goals on the season — she has eight, tied for second in the league — and both she and Purce are expected to feature today.
While Portland is trying to build off two straight wins and a five game home unbeaten streak, the Red Stars are going to use this game to attempt to turn themselves around. Over their past two games, Chicago have dropped six points to the bottom two teams in the league, results they would love to move past as they attempt a run for playoffs.
“‘Chicago [are] obviously good taking space, creating space, exploiting space,’ said Parsons. ‘Whether it’s through possession, whether it’s through direct play with [Sam] Kerr, I think they do a good job.’ On Portland’s end, that means working to minimize the areas that the Red Stars will try to exploit, finding ways to take advantage of the spaces that emerge in Chicago’s defense, as well as ‘continuing to develop [their] Thorns principles.’
Parsons pointed to Portland’s success against Chicago’s backline when the teams met earlier this season: The Thorns scored seven goals across the two games. Although both sides will showcase different lineups this time around, Parsons expressed confidence in his team replicating those attacking performances. ‘If we can ask them some very good questions and give them multiple things to have to defend, I think we can create space, and space can create chances, and chances can create goals,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be about us asking the right questions.’”
How to Watch
How to watch: ESPNews; check out your country’s ESPN listing on NWSLSoccer.com for international viewers
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
When: Sunday, August 25, 12 p.m. (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 9-3-6, 1st place in the NWSL, won 3-1 vs Washington Spirit
Chicago Red Stars: 9-7-2, 2nd place in the NWSL, lost 2-1 vs Orlando Pride