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Match Preview: Portland Thorns vs. Houston Dash

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Matches Gallery: Soccer Weekend
Nadia Nadim and the Thorns will look to delight the fans at Providence Park on Saturday night.
Roscoe Myrick

The Portland Thorns (9-5-4) make their return home, as they host Rachel Daly, Poliana and the Houston Dash (7-9-2) on Saturday evening at Providence Park.

The Thorns come into the match off a disappointing 2-1 loss to FC Kansas City on Wednesday, which was delayed over two hours due to severe weather. The Thorns came out strong and took the lead on a 43rd minute penalty kick goal from Amandine Henry, after Thorns captain and leading goalscorer Christine Sinclair was taken down in the box, which left the striker hobbled, though she would remain in the match. In the second half, the Thorns conceded two goals in quick succession, ending their five-match unbeaten run.

The Dash have had another up and down season. The late arrival of reigning Best FIFA Women’s Player Carli Lloyd and injuries to Kealia Ohai, Morgan Brian, Lydia Williams, and Lloyd have prevented the Dash from finding much of a rhythm this season, despite a six-match unbeaten run in late June and July. In their most recent match, a 3-1 victory over Boston, the Dash were led by Sarah Hagan’s brace, which ended a two-match losing streak.

The Thorns and Dash are meeting for the third time since early July, and the second time in two weeks. In their most recent meeting on August 5th, a 2-1 Thorns victory, the Thorns came out firing, as Emily Sonnett scored her first of the season, followed by Tyler Lussi netting the first of her career, while Lloyd scored from the spot for the Dash. The Thorns have the best home record in the league at 7-2-0, including five shutouts, while the Dash are the second best team on the road at 4-5-0.

The Thorns will see the return of Allie Long, who returns after a two-match absence, but will be without Lussi, who is serving the second match of a three-match ban following a hair-pulling incident last Saturday at Chicago. The Dash remain without Lloyd, Ohai, and Williams, who are all listed as out on the latest Injury Report.

With both sides on short rest, the one that comes out on the front foot and takes control of the match early will likely have the advantage, which would appear to lean in the Thorns’ favor, as they have scored 12 of their 25 goals in the first 15 minutes of the first and second halves.

Match Information

Watch it on: go90, NWSL website

When: Saturday, August 19th at 9 p.m. PT

Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR

Portland Thorns: 9-5-4 (W-L-T), 2nd place in the NWSL, 2-1 loss at FC Kansas City

Houston Dash: 7-9-2, 7th place in the NWSL, 3-1 win at Boston Breakers