Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Harvard Stadium (Boston, Mass.)
Forecast: 54 degrees, partly cloudy
Referee: Boris Senic
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Ian McKay
Fourth Official: Mounir Idmalak
Playing their third match in eight days, Portland Thorns FC travel to the east coast to take on the Boston Breakers on Wednesday at Harvard Stadium. Thorns FC enter Wednesday’s match coming off back-to-back home contests, including a 2-1 win over Western New York on May 21 and a 1-0 loss on May 24 against Sky Blue FC. On Saturday, Thorns FC recorded 18 shots, including nine on goal, while limiting Sky Blue FC to just three shots on goal in the match; tying a season-low for a Thorns FC opponent in 2014. Wednesday’s meeting is the first this season between the two teams and fourth allt-ime. Thorns FC posted a record of 1-2-0 in three regular-season matches in 2013 against Boston, and a 1-1-0 record away from Providence Park. Boston dropped its fourth straight game on Sunday with a 2-0 loss at home to FC Kansas City.
THORNS FC FALL TO SKY BLUE FC
Portland Thorns FC recorded 18 shots, including nine on goal, but conceded the late game-winning goal to defender Kelley O’Hara in a 1-0 loss against Sky Blue FC in front of 13,427 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night.
Controlling the tempo throughout the match, Thorns FC finished with an 18-9 edge in shots while forcing Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jill Loyden to make a season-high eight saves. Despite the advantage, O’Hara tallied the game-winning goal for Sky Blue FC in the 84th minute off a set piece, as U.S. Women’s National Team captain Christie Rampone served a free kick into the penalty box while O’Hara got in behind Portland’s backline for the header and her second goal of the season.
Defender Kat Tarr’s sliding shot hit the hand of a Sky Blue FC defender in the 77th minute resulting in a Portland free kick just outside the box. Sinclair used the opportunity for a quick restart, touching the ball to Mana Shim running toward the near post, but her shot from close range was saved out for a corner kick.
Portland registered two chances in the opening 10 minutes of the match as forward Jessica McDonald beat her defender in the box, serving a ball to Allie Long, but her one-touch shot was blocked out of bounds just wide of the right post from inside the six-yard box. On the ensuing corner kick, Long’s driven ball found the head of defender Nikki Marshall near the penalty spot and her header sailed wide of the mark.
SCOUTING BOSTON BREAKERS
The Boston Breakers outshot FC Kansas City 14-8, including a 10-3 edge in shots in the second half, but Boston dropped its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, as FC Kansas City got second half goals from defender Nikki Phillips and forward Amy Rodriguez in a 2-0 loss. Forward Katie Schoepfer tallied a game-high five shots while midifielder Heather O’Reilly tallied three shots in the match. The Breakers only win of the season came at home, a 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC on April 27. Boston has conceded multiple goals in six of its seven matches this season, while the Breakers have scored just seven goals, the fewest in the league. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher is tied for the league lead with 34 saves. Four of the Boston’s seven goals this season have come from two players: O’Reilly and midfielder Lianne Sanderson, as each has two goals this season and one assist. Defenders Courtney Jones and Julie King and midfielder Joanna Lohman have one goal apiece.
LAST TIME VERSUS BOSTON BREAKERS
Portland Thorns FC conceded the game-winning goal to midfielder Heather O’Reilly in the 84th minute of a 2-1 loss on Aug. 7, 2013, at Dillboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass. Scoreless at the half, forward Tiffany Weimer, who replaced forward Alex Morgan
following a 13th minute knee injury, scored her first goal of the season to put Portland in front in the 52nd minute. Midfielder Lianne Sanderson scored the game-tying goal in the 68th minute, while O’Reilly tallied the game winner settling a ball played over the top and firing a low drive past the goalkeeper to the far right post. Despite the loss, Thorns FC claimed a spot in the NWSL playoffs due to results around the league.
Thorns FC earned a league-best 6-2-3 record on the road last year and, including the postseason, Portland earned an 8-2-3 record (.730 winning pct.) in all competitions away from its home confines of Providence Park. Portland is unbeaten in eight straight road matches dating back to last season, improving its all-time road record in regular-season play to 8-2-5. In all competitions, Portland outscored its opponents 18-10 in 13 road games and scored two or more goals in seven road games in 2013. Thorns FC has allowed just two road goals this season while also recording a pair of shutouts victories at Houston.
AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Thorns FC enter Wednesday’s match as the only team with two players ranked among the top five in goal-scoring in the NWSL. Forward Jessica McDonald is third with five goals, while midfielder Allie Long ranks fourth with four goals. Midfielder Christine Sinclair
is third in both shots (31) and shots on goal (16). Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer
ranks second in the league with a 0.75 goals against average. As a team, Portland has allowed just six goals in eight games, which is tied for the fewest in the league with the Chicago Red Stars. Thorns FC is one of just two teams in the NWSL, along with Chicago, that have not surrendered multiple goals in a game this season.