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Match Thread: Thorns vs. Red Stars

Portland hosts Chicago in their regular season home finale.

NWSL: Racing Louisville FC at Portland Thorns FC Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns square off against the Chicago Red Stars in their regular season home finale Sunday afternoon, in a game carries huge playoff implications for both teams.

Storylines So Far

The Thorns (9-7-8, 35 points) officially booked their spot in the 2022 NWSL playoffs last Wednesday by virtue of a 3-0 thrashing of Racing Louisville. It took a half for Portland’s boots to get warmed up, but they exploded in the second half, scoring two goals almost immediately out of the gates at the start of the second half. Wednesday marked a welcome return of the Portland’s goal scoring form, with Sophia Smith leading the way.

They will need to look to unlock the defense of the Red Stars (8-6-6, 30 points) for that form to continue. Chicago will be a desperate team, as they now stand below the playoff line for the first time in a very long time. Today is a must-win for them if they hope to stay in control of their playoff destiny, and not falter at the finish line of the season.

The game of course has huge implications for the Thorns as well. They currently stand in second place in the standings, and today is their game in hand over the team ahead of them. If Portland wants to stay in control of their own destiny in the hunt for the 2022 NWSL Shield, today is a must-win for them as well.

Pregame Reading

The Thorns rode a second-half surge to race past Racing, as Wilder recapped last week.

That win booked Portland’s league-best eighth postseason berth, which we wrote about here.

And Melina previewed this afternoon’s clash & the stakes for this afternoon.

How to Watch

Location: Providence Park | Portland, OR

Time: 1 p.m. PT

Watch: Paramount+ & Twitch (international only)

Lineups

Portland Thorns

Chicago Red Stars