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Match Preview: Portland Thorns vs Houston Dash

The Thorns are back in action this Saturday afternoon.

Rose City Riveters

After a hard battle against Washington Spirit on Wednesday, the Thorns will play their second match of the week; this time, against Houston Dash.

This game will bring a familiar face to Providence Park in the form of former Thorn Emily Ogle, who’s coming back from an injury on her right knee that finished her 2021 season last August.

History is on Portland’s side against this particular opponent since they register 13 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses in regular-season matches. Last year, these teams crossed paths four times: once for Challenge Cup and three times during the regular season. The Thorns got a draw (1-1) in the Cup, two wins (1-0, 1-0) on the road, and one loss at home (2-3).

After two draws against the Reign and the Spirit, Portland will want to get another win before they take the road to visit Chicago next week. To do that, they’ll need to finish their chances, something Sophia Smith can help with after she scored on Wednesday. Stats indicate she likes to score at home — seven of the nine goals she’s netted since she joined the team in 2021 have been tallied at Providence Park. Let’s hope the team can finish their chances against the Dash, something coach Rhian Wilkinson and forward Christine Sinclair said they need to do better.

The Thorns will need to be careful with the wingers Nichelle Prince and Maria Sanchez; both are very good in the 1v1 duels and very fast players. Regarding the defense, let’s see if the coach decides to split minutes again between Meaghan Nally and Becky Sauerbrunn or if the veteran defender goes full 90 for the first time this year.

Nonetheless, no matter who plays there, the defense is fine. That’s why the Thorns are unbeaten in seven straight games in league play and so far, they have allowed only two goals in so many games. That’s the fewest conceded by the team in a seven-game span in their history. And if everything fails in the backline, we will always have Bella.

The match will kick-off at 3 p.m. Pacific and will be streamed on Twitch.