The Portland Thorns (7-2-6) are entering their third-to-last road game of the season as they make the drive up to Tacoma to take on Reign FC (6-3-5). The Reign are one of only two teams that the Thorns have lost to this season, with the other defeat coming in an away match with the Washington Spirit. However, series history favors neither side; Portland and Tacoma have an even all-time record of 9-9-3.
Both the Thorns and Reign are in an unfortunate position: they finally have their USWNT players back for good, but both sides are missing noteworthy players to injury. The absence of Ellie Carpenter — and likely Meghan Klingenberg, as well — presents yet another challenge to Portland’s back line. The Thorns have conceded seven goals in their last five games, a worrying statistic for a team that pride themselves on their stingy defense.
“Last time the two teams met, about a month ago, the Reign snuck away from Providence Park with a 1-0 victory thanks to Celia Jimenez Delgado’s first NWSL goal from outside the box, which kicked off a trend the way the Thorns have conceded goals. Including that strike, four of the last seven goals the Thorns have conceded have been strikes from distance either outside the box or just inside. It seems like a somewhat unlikely record and probably an outlier, but it likely has to do with midfield defense. Up against Allie Long in the Reign midfield, minds are likely to be focused — and Lindsay Horan back in the team alongside Gabby Seiler has proven to be one of the most effective midfield duos the team has seen.”
How to Watch
Where: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Washington
When: Wednesday, August 7, 7:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 7-2-6, 2nd place in the NWSL, drew 1-1 vs Sky Blue FC
Reign FC: 6-3-5, 4th place in the NWSL, won 1-0 at Houston Dash