NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns vs. Western New York Flash | May 21, 2014

Get set for tonight's Thorns-Flash match with stats, video and more
MATCH INFORMATION
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.) Forecast: 74 degrees, partly cloudy
Referee: Mark Allatin
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Ben Warren Fourth Official: Lucas Brooks
Presented by: Parklane Mattresses
 

MATCH PREVIEW

Wednesday’s match, presented by Parklane Mattresses, marks the second of three regular-season meetings between Portland and Western New York and the first of two matches at Providence Park this season. The game is the first of a quick, two-game home stretch for Thorns FC as the team also plays host to Sky Blue FC on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Pacific). Thorns FC enter Wednesday’s match following a 1-0 win over NWSL expansion side Houston Dash on May 14 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Portland and Western New York played to a 1-1 draw on May 3 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. McDonald tallied the game-tying goal in the 43rd minute as the two sides played to a draw for the third straight time in regular- season action. In all competitions, Portland is 1-0-3 against Western New York, earning a 2-0 win over the Flash in the 2013 NWSL Championship game on Aug. 31, 2013, in Rochester.
 

THORNS FC SHUT OUT HOUSTON DASH

Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made a season-high seven saves, including a key stop on a second half penalty kick, and forward Jessica McDonald netted the game-winning goal for Portland Thorns FC in a 1-0 victory over National Women’s Soccer League expansion side Houston Dash in front of 3,931 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 14.
Thorns FC earned their second clean sheet of the season as Angerer came up with a crucial diving save on a 48th-minute penalty kick by Houston midfielder Kaylyn Kyle. Following a long cross into the penalty box, Portland was whistled for a handball, setting up the spot kick for the Dash. Leaping to her right, Angerer smothered the effort and quickly recovered into a position to help guide the rebound out for a goal kick as Thorns FC extended their club-record, road-unbeaten streak to eight consecutive matches in all competitions dating back to the 2013 season. Registering her team-leading fourth goal of the season, McDonald delivered the game-winning goal from close range in the 57th minute, connecting on a well-placed cross from midfielder Angie Kerr. The goal was McDonald’s fourth in the last four matches and set a new NWSL-career high for the forward.
McDonald finished with a game-high six shots, including three on goal, while strike partner Chris- tine Sinclair delivered four shots, including a near miss in the 12th minute from 12-yards out that she pulled just wide of the far left post following a pass from McDonald near the end line. Portland, finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots while earning a second straight shutout against the Dash.
 

LAST TIME VERSUS 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 on 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 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 ex- tend its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games. The match featured a 43-minute delay due to lightning just eight minutes into the game. McDonald’s goal came as Flash goalkeeper Lydia Williams failed to corral a cross from midfielder Sarah Huffman, spilling the rebound for McDonald in front of goal.
 

SCOUTING THE FLASH

Western New York enters Wednesday’s match following a 3-2 loss against the Washington Spirit on Saturday at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex. Despite taking a 2-1 lead into halftime on goals by forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Carli Lloyd, the Flash conceded twice in the final 45 minutes as Flash defender Kat Williamson scored an unfortunate own goal in the 71st minute as a shot struck the crossbar and bounced in off the defender. Washington grabbed the game-winning goal in the 78th minute as forward Jodie Taylor scored her second goal of the match, finishing a headed cross from midfielder Yael Averbuch. Head coach Aaran Lines’ squad is led by Wambach’s three goals in three appear- ances, while midfielder Vicky Losada has registered two goals and three assists in five games. Rookie goalkeeper Kelsey Wys has started each of the last two matches, filling in for goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who is on international duty with the Australia Women’s National Team at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. Forward Samantha Kerr is also part of Australia’s roster for the tournament.
 

YOUNG DEFENSE

Starting rookie defenders Emily Menges and Courtney Niemiec alongside Nikki Marshall and Kat Tarr in the backline of a 1-0 win against the Houston Dash
on May 14, Portland’s defensive corps averaged a spry age of 23.75 years old. Menges, the youngest of the group and the youngest-ever Thorns FC player to start a match, is just 21-years old, while Niemiec turned 22-years old in April. Portland has conceded just four goals in six matches this year, which is tied for the fewest goals allowed in the league. Midfielder/defender Rebecca Moros has started several matches at outside back for Portland, bringing the average age to 24.25 years old.
 

NEW GRADUATES

Thorns FC rookie defenders Emily Menges and Courtney Niemiec celebrated their college graduations over the weekend. Menges graduated from Georgetown University and now joins Thorns FC on a permanent basis after traveling back-and-forth from school to training and matches during the first six games of the season. Niemiec, who made the Thorns FC roster after an open tryout, graduated from LaSalle University. Niemiec has started each of the team’s first six matches.
 

AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

Thorns FC forward Jessica McDonald ranks third in the league in goal-scoring (4) and shots on goal (11), while midfielder Allie Long (3 goals) is close behind in a tie for fourth place. Portland is one of two teams in the league with two or more players ranked among the top five in goals. Forward Christine Sinclair ranks third overall is shots (21), while goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ranks second among league goalkeepers in goals-against average (0.67), saves (23) and shutouts (2). As a team, Portland has conceded just four goals in six matches, which is tied for the fewest goals allowed in the league. Thorns FC have conceded 29 shots on goal, good for third overall in the league behind Seattle (26) and Western New York (23).