The Thorns may be in the playoffs, but where they will be traveling for the semi-finals remains to be determined.
Coming off a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Tacoma which ensured that the Thorns will be playing the entirety of the playoffs on the road, Portland will need to find a way to win against the Spirit to guarantee (without relying on the Reign) that they travel to Chicago next weekend and not North Carolina.
Against the Reign, Tobin Heath was sidelined for rest while Lindsey Horan was stretchered off the field after a rough collision with Kristen McNabb. After two weeks of rest, it looks like both Heath and Horan will be available for selection tonight while Ellie Carpenter is listed as “out” with an illness. The Spirit will be without Elise Kellond-Knight (hamstring), and Rose Lavelle (excused).
Despite last August’s result, tonight's game will be a dangerous one for the Thorns. An impressive 2-1 victory over the North Carolina Courage a few weeks ago shows that this Spirit team shouldn’t be taken for granted, and the only thing they have left to play for now is pride. A loss or draw coupled with a Reign win against the Orlando Pride (almost a certainty) could spell disaster for the Thorns who would slip down into fourth place in that scenario.
This will be the Thorns final home game of the season regardless of what happens in the coming weeks. Will next weeks opponent be Sam Kerr and the Chicago Red Stars or will it be Lynn Williams, Crystal Dunn, and the North Carolina Courage? We’ll know by the end of the night.
How to Watch
How to Watch: Yahoo Sports in the US; check your local listing at NWSLSoccer.com
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
When: Saturday, October 12, 7:30 p.m (Pacific)
Portland Thorns: 11-6-6, third place in NWSL, lost 2-0 vs Reign FC
Washington Spirit: 9-6-8, fifth place in NWSL, won 3-0 vs Orlando Pride