NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns vs. Western New York Flash | June 7, 2014
Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair scored her first goal of the season in the 62nd minute of a 4-1 loss on the road against the Boston Breakers on May 28 at Harvard Stadium.
Saturday’s game will be the third, and final, regular-season meeting between the two teams, as well as the second in the last 18 days. Portland enters the match with a 2-0-3 record, in all competitions, against Western New York. The team’s win on May 21 was its first during regular season against the Flash.
SCOUTING WESTERN NEW YORK
The Western New York Flash are on a three-game road swing coming off a 1-0 loss at FC Kansas City on Wednesday. Western New York was without leading goal scorer and forward Abby Wambach, who missed the match due to a knee injury that she suffered last Saturday against Houston.
The Flash are winless in their last five games and 1-4-1 on the road this season, but have found success scoring goals away from home. Nine of Western New York’s 14 goals this season have been scored on the road.
Wambach leads the team and is among the league leaders with four goals this season. Midfielders Vicky Losada, Carly Lloyd and McCall Zerboni have each scored two goals this season. Both of Zerboni’s goals have come in the last four games. Losada and midfielder Adriana Martin have both tallied three assists. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has made six starts this season, but did not appear in the last meeting as she was away on international duty with the Australia Women’s National Team.
Starting rookie defenders Emily Menges and Courtney Niemiec alongside Nikki Marshall and Kat Tarr started five straight games in the backline (May 10-28) for an average age of 24 years old. Steph Catley joined the team this week and is the youngest player on the team (20). If Catley earns a start on Saturday it will bring the average age of the backline to 22.25 years old. Menges, Niemiec and Catley are all 23 or younger and in their first year in the NWSL. Portland’s defense ranks among the best in the league having allowed the third fewest goals overall (10) and the second fewest at home (4).
Midfielder Verónica Boquete and defender Steph Catley are the newest additions to the Portland Thorns FC roster. Boquete helped guide her Swedish club Tyresö FF to the Women’s UEFA Champions League Final last month. Boquete previously played in the U.S. under current Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley with the Philadelphia Independence and was named Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Player of the Year in 2011. Catley helped the Australia Women’s National Team qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in May. A two-time Australia U-20 Footballer of the Year (2012, 2013), Catley captained the Melbourne Victory of the W-League to a league title during the 2013-14 season.
TALENT ALL AROUND
This offseason Portland signed Germany Women’s National Team captain Nadine Angerer, the 2013 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. Add in forward Christine Sinclair, who is the captain of the Canada Women’s National Team and Spain Women’s National Team captain Verónica Boquete and Portland’s roster accounts for three national team captains. Twelve players on Portland’s roster have earned at least one cap at the senior international level for their respective national teams, while Angerer is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner, Sinclair (bronze), midfielder Tobin Heath, forward Alex Morgan and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke (gold) are all Olympic medal winners. Forward Jackie Acevedo (Mexico), defender Stephanie Catley (Australia), midfielders Amber Brooks, Angie Kerr and Allie Long as well as defender/midfielder Sarah Huffman (United States) all have earned senior national team caps during their careers.
Thorns FC enter Saturday’s match ranked second in the league in shots (142) and shots on goal (65). Portland has recorded double-digit shot attempts in eight of nine matches this season. Thorns FC is averaging 15.78 shot attempts per game this season, the most of any team in the league. Forward Christine Sinclair leads the NWSL in shots (37) and is second in shots on goals (19). Sinclair has registered four or more shots in a game seven times this season and at least three shots in all nine matches. Midfielder Allie Long and forward Jessica McDonald are two of three players in the league ranked in the top five in both goals and shots.
LAST TIME VERSUS WESTERN NEW YORK
Midfielder Allie Long and forward Jessica McDonald each registered a goal and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer matched a season-high with seven saves as Portland Thorns FC earned a 2-1 win against the Western New York Flash on May 21 at Providence Park. Long scored in the 17th minute, her fourth goal of the season, while McDonald tallied her team-leading fifth goal of the year four minutes into the second half. Thorns FC finished with a season-high 20 shots and a club-record 13 corner kicks in the match as the two teams registered 37 shots combined. Western New York’s only goal of the match was scored by McCall Zerboni in the 59th minute.
MORGAN, HEATH AND LONG CALLED UP TO USWNT
Forward Alex Morgan and midfielders Tobin Heath and Allie Long earned call ups by U.S. Women’s National Team for a pair of international friendlies against France on June 14 and June 19. The U.S. will play on Saturday, June 14, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. and on Thursday, June 19, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. Both games will be broadcast live on ussoccer.com at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Morgan, 24, heads into training camp with the national team for the first time in 2014. She hasn’t appeared in a national team match since November 2013 while recovering from a stress reaction in her ankle. In 2013, Morgan appeared in 12 games (10 starts) for the United States, recording six goals and four assists. Morgan has registered 70 international caps and 44 goals in her national team career.
Heath, 26, made her last appearance with the United States in a 3-0 win over China PR as a substitute in the 57th minute on April 10 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. Heath has made four total appearances for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2014, earning one start, while accumulating 73 international caps during her career and scoring eight goals.
Long, 26, earns her second call into the U.S Women’s National Team after making her first international appearance with the senior national team in a 1-1 draw against Canada on May 8, coming in as a substitute in the 68th minute.