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Match Preview: Portland Thorns @ Washington Spirit

The Thorns hit the road looking for three points in D.C.

Sophia Smith vs Emily Sonnett Prostamerika

The Thorns hit the road to the country’s capital in a quest to get the three points that will help them secure the first position in the table and keep them building toward the Shield.

This will be the second match Portland has to play in less than one week, and it will be on Segra Field at 4:30 P.M. Pacific.

Unbeaten streak and winless streak

After the 3-3 draw against the Courage — that felt a little like a loss — the Thorns will want to get back to business and show that they’re the team to beat in this last part of the season. Despite the result, the club extended its unbeaten streak to 10 games. Will they continue to 11? The lessons they indeed learned from the match against North Carolina will be important to achieve that.

The Courage and the Spirit both share some similarities and circumstances that have put them at the bottom of the table — one of them being the fact that both look very dangerous on paper with attacking players that can hurt the opposing team. Since the Spirit got its USWNT players back, they are looking a bit more like the team we saw claiming the championship last year, scoring three goals against the Courage at the end of July. With two draws in their last two matches, the Spirit extended its winless streak to 14 games. Will they break it against Portland? We hope not, but they certainly have the tools to do it.

Beating records

The previous meeting between Washington and Portland left a 1-1 draw, with Sophia Smith and Ashley Hatch scoring in that game. Speaking of Sophia, she has scored eight goals in her last five games. Is she already in the big leagues? Her numbers and records scream a resounding Yes!

Also, if she scores again against the Spirit, she will tie with Abby Wambach and Kim Little for most consecutive games with a goal in a single season in NWSL history, according to Opta. Smith’s already become the youngest NWSL player to score 10+ goals in a single season, has tied Alex Morgan in the number of goals scored this season (11), and is the first player to score in five consecutive matches in a single regular season since 2017, so why not?

Injury report

Portland fans received good news this week through Emily Menges’ Instagram account, where she let people know she’s back in training. Her injury has put her away from the field, showing us that a foot injury is not something to take lightly. Her being back in training is important — and more so now that we’re heading to the last part of the season.

Meghan Klingenberg is available again, so the only two players out are Menges and Crystal Dunn. Let’s also remember that Olivia Moultrie is on international duty, ready to debut with the U-20 USWNT against Ghana tomorrow in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

On the other hand, Tori Huster, Julia Roddar, and Emily Sonnett won’t be available for the Spirit.

The game will be streamed on Paramount+ for fans in the United States and on Twitch for the rest of the world.