NWSL Match Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC | May 10, 2014
Date: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park Forecast: 63 degrees, rain
Referee: Boris Senic Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, Ronald Lagraff
Fourth Official: Farhad Dadkho
Saturday’s match marks the first of three regular-season games between Pacific Northwest foes Portland Thorns FC and Seattle Reign FC, the only two remaining undefeated teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Starting the 2014 season with a four-match unbeaten streak, Thorns FC are unbeaten in eight straight games in all competitions (5-0-3) since Aug. 10, 2013. Portland has conceded just three goals in four matches, which ranks tied for second-fewest goals conceded in the league, while forward Jessica McDonald has registered three goals in the last two matches, including a brace against FC Kansas City in Portland’s home opener. Thorns FC rank among league leaders in shots (54) and shots on goal (25), while German international goalkeeper Nadine Angerer has logged a 0.75 goals-against average in four appearances.
Entering Saturday’s match, Portland has earned a 4-0-0 all-time record against Seattle, outscoring Reign FC 7-2, including 4-1 at Providence Park. Thorns FC tallied a 2-1 win over Seattle in their first-ever home match at Providence Park on April 21, 2013, as defender Marian Dougherty and forward Alex Morgan registered goals in the win.
On the road for a third consecutive week, Seattle leads the NWSL in goal scoring (15) and defense (2 goals conceded) through its first five matches of the season. Scottish midfielder Kim Little leads the league with four goals and was named the NWSL Army National Guard Player of the Month for April, while Welsh midfielder Jessica Fishlock has registered two goals and three assists this season. U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo leads the league with three shutouts and ranks second with a 0.40 goals-against average.
THORNS FC DRAW WITH WESTERN NEW YORK
Forward Jessica McDonald tallied a goal in a second consecutive match and the Portland Thorns FC defense didn’t allow a shot on goal in the second half to earn a come-from-behind, 1-1 draw on the road against the Western New York Flash May 3 in front of 3,674 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
Thorns FC had the better of possession throughout the match, but Western New York claimed the lead off a free kick in the 39th minute by Flash forward Sonia Bermudez. Portland earned the equalizing goal just four minutes later as McDonald registered her third goal in the last two matches, helping Portland extend its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games.
The match endured a 43-minute delay due to lightning just eight minutes into the game.
Playing their third away game of the season and seventh in their last eight matches in all competitions dating back to the 2013 season, Thorns FC held the Flash to a season-low eight shots, including just three shots on goal. Portland extended its road unbeaten streak to seven matches with the draw, dating back to the end of the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made two saves, including forcing a shot from forward Abby Wambach off the post in the 29th minute. The two sides finished level on shots with eight apiece, while Portland earned the advantage in shots on goal, 6-3, and corner kicks, 7-4.
SCOUTING THE REIGN
Winners of five consecutive matches to start the season, Seattle Reign FC have outscored their opponents 12-2, as midfielder Kim Little leads the club with four goals. Wales Women’s National Team captain Jessica Fishlock has registered two goals and a team-leading three assists and six additional players have recorded one goal. U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo has logged three shutouts and a 0.40 goals-against average.
Head coach and general manager Laura Harvey has transformed Seattle’s roster during the offseason, adding Little, U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux, Japanese forward Nahomi Kawasumi and forward Beverly Goebel, among others.
Seattle’s five wins have come against teams currently in the bottom five of the NWSL standings, as Reign FC have earned wins over ninth-place Boston, eighth place Houston, sixth-place Sky Blue FC and twice over fifth-place Washington. Saturday’s match marks the third straight road match for Reign FC after kicking off the season with three consecutive home games.
Saturday’s match features the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the NWSL power rank- ings, released each week by the league. The only two remaining undefeated teams in the league, Seattle is ranked first while Portland comes in second in the latest rankings. FC Kansas City is third, while Washington (4) and Chicago (5) round out the top five spots.
AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Thorns FC forward Jessica McDonald and midfielder Allie Long are both just one goal shy of the league lead with three goals apiece. McDonald and Long have each played one less match than the three players who have scored four goals this season. Long ranks fourth in the NWSL in shots (17) and is tied for third in shots on goal (8). Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ranks fourth in the league with a 0.75 goals-against average in four appearances. Portland has conceded just 17 shots on goal in four games, which ranks third in the NWSL behind Seattle and Western New York (13).
LONG EARNS FIRST USWNT CAP
Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long earned her first international cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team, playing 22 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 1-1 draw Thursday night against the Canada Women’s National Team before 28,255 fans at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Canada.
Previously representing the United States at the U-17 and U-20 levels, Long replaced starting midfielder Morgan Brian in the 68th minute, earning her first career appearance at the senior level for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The Thorns FC midfielder was previously called into training camp in July 2010, but did not feature in either of the national team’s two matches against Sweden due to injury.
Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair played 90 minutes for Canada in the draw, while Thorns FC defender Nikki Marshall was not named to the 18-player, match- day roster for the United States. The call into training camp was the first for Marshall.