The Portland Thorns find themselves facing a familiar foe to open the preseason, as they face the Seattle Reign in the Thorns FC Preseason Tournament at Providence Park, kicking off at 5:00pm. This match will be preceded by the Oregon State Beavers taking on the Houston Dash at 2:30pm.
Beavers vs. Dash
The Beavers come into this match after a tough 2015 NCAA season, where they finished with a 6-10-3 record (2-9-1 Pac-12). While they spread the scoring among 11 players, Allison Pantuso lead them in scoring with 3 goals, while Emma Jones added 4 assists and 1 goal. Defensively, they are led by Mexican international Greta Espinoza, who has recently seen time her appearances with the senior team increase with call ups to the 2015 Women's World Cup and CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.
The Dash, like the Thorns, had another busy off season rebuilding their roster, and are led by FIFA Women's Player of the Year and World Cup Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd, and up and coming players like Kealia Ohai and Morgan Brian, but saw last year's leading scorer, Jessica McDonald, and goalkeeper Erin McLeod move on. The Dash saw improvements from their expansion to second seasons, and will hope to continue to improve after finishing in 5th place last season, adding goalkeeper Lydia Williams, Irish forward Denise O'Sullivan, and Canadian forward Janine Beckie.
Thorns vs. Reign
While the Reign have made few changes off their back to back NWSL Shield-winning seasons, the Thorns are a different story. After spending the off season trying to mold the roster to fit the vision of new head coach Mark Parsons, with only 8 players returning from frustrating 2015 season, highlighted by the acquisitions of U.S. Women's National Team members, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett, Icelandic international Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Danish international Nadia Nadim, and NWSL veterans Adrianna Franch and Katherine Reynolds, as well as French superstar Amandine Henry, who will join the team in June.
This match gives Thorns supporters their first look at the new-look Thorns, especially the rebuilt midfield, which will likely feature the USWNT trio of Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, and the newly called in Allie Long, and a resurgent Christine Sinclair up top, with the biggest question being how Parsons utilizes the immense amount of talent he has on the pitch in the most effective way possible.
The Reign on the other hand, have been a model of consistency, but will be missing a significant piece, as Megan Rapinoe continues to recover from an injury sustained with the USWNT. Despite missing Rapinoe, the Reign still field a dangerous roster, especially in the midfield, which features Jess Fishlock, Kim Little, and Keelin Winters, and forward Beverly Yanez.