For a moment it looked like the Portland Thorns might not make it into the playoffs. Their fate was, at least temporarily, out of their hands, but then there was a glimmer of hope and the Thorns took their chance, beating the Seattle Reign for their spot in the the NWSL playoffs.
Now, for the second year in a row, the Thorns are set to take on FC Kansas City on the road, a team that was unbeaten at home in the regular season, in the opening match of the 2014 playoffs. They will do so without key defender Nikki Marshall, who tore her ACL getting the Thorns into the playoffs in the final match of the season.
This will be a challenge for the Thorns and the question remains: can they put it all together and get the most out of this supremely talented squad against FCKC, or will the inconsistency that typified the team in the regular season rear it's head once again?
Match Preview: "Paul Riley's hands are all over both of these teams. Before joining the Thorns, he was integral in building the Blues into the powerhouse they have become, serving as a consultant with Kansas City as they put together their team last season. Because of this, the Thorns and Blues are very evenly matched and have many similarities, though with the personnel and coaching staffs being different, their approaches to the match vary beyond this."
Watch it on: ESPN2
Kickoff: 10:00 AM PT at Durwood Stadium in Kansas City, Missuori
Portland Thorns: 10-8-6, 3rd place in the NWSL
FC Kansas City: 12-7-5, 2nd place in the NWSL