NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC | June 25, 2014

Thorns host Sky Blue at Providence Park at 7pm PT Wednesday night

Matchday Preview, Thorns vs. SB, 6.25.14

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
MATCH INFORMATION
Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC
Presented by Coca-Cola
Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.) Forecast: 72 degrees, chance of rain
Referee: Bernhard Hosu
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Ronald Lagraff Fourth Official: Lucas Brooks
Webstream: www.portlandthornsfc.com
Local TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest
 

MATCH PREVIEW

Portland Thorns FC will play two matches in a span of four days this week. Thorns FC face off against Sky Blue FC for the final time this regular season, and the second time at Providence Park, on Wednesday, June 25; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Portland travel to take on FC Kansas City on Saturday, June 28, at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium; kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific).
 
Thorns FC earned a 6-1 win on June 21 at the Washington Spirit. Forwards Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald each scored a brace, while forward Christine Sinclair and midfielder Allie Long each tallied a goal for Portland in the match.
Portland has scored eight goals in its last two matches after scoring five goals in the previous seven matches. Thorns FC have scored multiple goals in four games this season, including three matches at Providence Park.
 

THORNS FC EARNS 6-1 WIN AT WASHINGTON

Portland set a club and NWSL record for goals in a single game in a 6-1 victory against the Washington Spirit behind braces from forwards Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex on June 21.
 
Portland exploded in the second half, scoring four goals after taking a 2-0 lead into halftime. Morgan recorded her first brace for Thorns FC in the 71st minute, intercepting a clearance by Spirit goalkeeper Chantel Jones and chipping it in from outside the box.
 
McDonald, a substitute for Morgan in the 82nd minute, wasted no time scoring back-to-back goals in the 85th and 87th minutes to increase Portland’s lead to 5-1. McDonald finished inside the box after the initial save from Jones on midfielder Sinead Farrelly’s shot in the 85th minute. Defender Sarah Huffman made a long run down the left flank in the 87th minute, playing a cross to McDonald for the finish at the back post.
 
Thorns FC got off to a fast start scoring their quickest goal of the season in the fifth minute of the match. Morgan collected the ball off a turnover and found forward Christine Sinclair open in the box as she turned to curl a shot into the left corner.
 
Portland doubled its lead in the 10th minute following a sequence of shots near the goal line. Midfielder Amber Brooks, Morgan and Sinclair all had their shots blocked before Morgan headed the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the game.
 

LAST TIME AGAINST SKY BLUE

Portland Thorns FC recorded 18 shots, including nine on goal, but conceded a late game-winning goal to defender Kelley O’Hara in a 1-0 loss against Sky Blue FC on May 24 at Providence Park. 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. 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. Portland produced multiple goal- scoring opportunities in the second half as forward Christine Sinclair had two looks at goal. A header off a corner kick in the 61st minute was cleared off the line by Sky Blue FC, while in the 63rd minute Long and Sinclair connected once again as Sinclair’s one-touch, left footed volley from 10 yards out was saved at the left post by Loyden.
 

SCOUTING SKY BLUE FC

Sky Blue FC comes into Wednesday’s match following a 1-1 draw against the Boston Breakers on Sunday at Yurcak Field. Sky Blue FC grabbed an early 1-0 lead, scoring in the second minute on a goal by defender Kelley O’Hara. Boston equalized in the 32nd minute, but Sky Blue FC had a chance to win the game late, earning a penalty kick in the 86th minute after a handball in the box. Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made the stop on the spot kick to preserve the draw.
 
Sky Blue FC is winless in its last five matches, but has recorded back-to-back draws heading into Wednesday’s match. Sky Blue FC has conceded the third most goals in the league (24), having allowed 11 goals on the road this season.
 
Head coach Jim Gabarra’s squad is led by midfielder Katy Freels who has re- corded four goals and two assists. Sky Blue FC has scored 14 goals this season, the fewest in the league. O’Hara is another goal-scoring threat with three goals and two assists, while midfielder Monica Ocampo has tallied two goals for Sky Blue FC.
 

TWICE AS NICE

Forwards Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald each tallied a brace in Thorns FC’s 6-1 win against Washington. The brace was Morgan’s first for Thorns FC, while McDonald tallied her second brace of the 2014 season. Morgan is the third player in club history to record a brace along with McDonald and forward Christine Sinclair. McDonald is one of two players in club history, along with Sinclair, to tally a pair of braces in a single season. Sinclair scored two braces during the 2013 season against Chicago (July 28) and Seattle (Aug. 17).
 

NWSL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan was named NWSL Player of the Week for Week 11. Morgan scored her first goal and tallied her first assist for Thorns FC in 2014 on June 21 against the Spirit. Morgan finished the game with a brace, her first for Thorns FC, while adding an assist on forward Christine Sinclair’s goal in the fifth minute. She finished the game with eight shots (5 on goal). Morgan missed the first nine games of the season due to injury, making her 2014 Thorns FC debut June 7 against Western New York. She missed Portland’s June 15 match against Washington as she was away on international duty.
 

SCORING CHANCES

Portland has registered double-digit shot attempts in eight consecutive matches and 11 of 12 matches this season. Thorns FC recorded a season-high 13 shots on goal against Washington on June 21. Forward Christine Sinclair leads the NWSL in shots (45) and ranks second in shots on goal (24). Forward Jessica McDonald ranks among the top three in the league in both categories with 38 shots and
 
22 shots on goal. Thorns FC leads the league in shots (201) and ranks second in shots on goal (93). Portland is averaging 16.75 shots per match this season, including 18.5 shots per match at home. Thorns FC have tallied 16 or more shots in all six matches at Providence Park this season.