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Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC: Previews, How to Watch, Match Thread [8:00]

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Thorns at home once again, once again without their national team players.

Matthew Ralph / Brotherly Game

The Portland Thorns (7-2-5) return to Providence Park without their USWNT players to take on a Sky Blue FC team (2-10-2) who appear to be hitting another rough patch after looking like they were about to get a handle on their season. Sky Blue have lost three games in a row, most recently dropping 1-0 against a Houston Dash team the Thorns recently beat 5-0.

Missing Carli Lloyd is always big, but arguably more important for Sky Blue is the absence of Raquel Rodriguez. The creative midfielder and former second overall pick in the 2016 NWSL College draft has been having a big season for her team, and had a big impact the first time the Thorns played them this year, completing six dribbles through the middle of the park.

The Thorns, meanwhile, will need to find some creativity without Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan in the team. Caitlin Foord has been out of the team recently because of the form of Midge Purce and Hayley Raso, and will no doubt be hungry to prove that she can have an impact on this team with her passing and holdup ability.

Previews

Storylines:

“Recently named to the July NWSL team of the month, Gabby Seiler has become a staple in the Thorns midfield. “She’s a thinker, a decision-maker, a footballer — a real footballer in the sense of understanding, reading, anticipating the game, and knowing where spaces are,” said Parsons. He praised Seiler’s off the ball work: her ability to smother their opponents’ attack as “the spark is just lighting” and then spring Portland’s offense with her next pass.

After spending the last two games partnered with Horan, Seiler will likely shift back to working alongside Brynjarsdottir against Sky Blue. Seiler explained that her role in the Thorns midfield remains relatively constant, even as the players around her shift from game to game. “Every time I step on the field ... I just want to make it as easy as possible for them [whoever she’s playing with in the midfield] and let them playmake and me just do the dirty work,” she said.”

How to Watch

How to watch: Yahoo Sports; NWSLSoccer.com for international viewers

Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon

When: Saturday, August 3rd, 8:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Portland Thorns: 7-2-5, 1st place in the NWSL, won 5-0 vs Houston Dash

Sky Blue FC: 2-10-2, 9th place in the NWSL, lost 1-0 at Houston Dash