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Match Preview: Portland Thorns at FC Kansas City

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Matches Gallery: Soccer Weekend
Nadim, Horan, and Sinclair could be a deadly combination against FC Kansas City tonight.
Roscoe Myrick

The red-hot Portland Thorns (9-4-4) take their five-match unbeaten run (4-0-1) on the road, as they travel to Kansas City to take on a struggling FC Kansas City (4-8-5) at Children’s Mercy Victory Field at 5:00pm, in a match streamed on go90.com and NWSLSoccer.com.

The Thorns and Blues are meeting for the third time this season. In their most recent meeting, the Thorns ran wild on Kansas City in a 3-0 victory, as Thorns captain Christine Sinclair netted a brace and Hayley Raso added another on June 28.

The Thorns come into this match in their best form all season. Playing their second of the matches in 8 days, the Thorns have won four in a row, outscored their opponents 8-4 over that span, with Emily Sonnett scoring the opener on August 5th against Houston and the game-winner against Chicago last Saturday. Nine different players have scored for the Thorns this season: Sinclair (five goals), Nadia Nadim (four goals), Hayley Raso, and Lindsey Horan (three goals each). Defensively, the Thorns lead the league in away goals conceded (nine), and are second in overall goals allowed (16) and shutouts (seven), while Sonnett is second in the league in blocks.

The Blues broke a nine-match winless streak last weekend against the Houston Dash, claiming their first victory since late May off a late winner by Shea Groom, in their fourth of five matches over a 16-day period. Led by Sydney Leroux’s three goals, Kansas City has only scored 17 goals on the season, but this has been spread among 10 different players. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart has been the busiest goalkeeper in the NWSL this season, making 71 saves, while recording four shutouts.

With the Thorns entering this match streaking and the Blues struggling, it would be easy to say the Thorns will run away with this one, but as we have found out in the past, Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski is one of the best tacticians in the league. He will certainly have his team prepared to exploit any weaknesses he sees in the Thorns, but the Thorns have won four in a row for a reason. With Sinclair moving back into an attacking midfield role and making connections with those around her, the Thorns have quickly seen their scoring output increase. The return of Nadim only increases their firepower up top, especially playing off the movement of Raso, who has taken her game to another level this season. The Thorns will still be without starting defensive midfielder Allie Long, who also missed their last match, for personal reasons, so the lineup will likely be similar to last match, with Horan and Amandine Henry playing deeper in the midfield behind Sinclair.

Match Information

Watch it on: go90, NWSL website

When: Wednesday, August 16th at 5 p.m. PT

Where: Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Kansas City, KS

Portland Thorns: 9-4-4 (W-L-D), 2nd place in the NWSL, 3-2 win at Chicago Red Stars

FC Kansas City: 4-8-5, 8th place in the NWSL, 1-0 win at Houston Dash