Thorns FC make their 2014 national television debut against the Boston Breakers on Sunday, July 20, at Providence Park. Sunday’s nationally televised match on ESPN2 kicks off at 2 p.m. (Pacific).
Portland is playing its fourth game in 12 days, while Boston is playing its sixth game of a seven-game road trip on Sunday. Thorns FC played to a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars on Thursday night at Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. Forward Jessica McDonald registered the fastest goal scored in NWSL history (33 seconds), but Chicago rallied late as midfielder Lori Chalupny scored in the 77th minute.
Sunday’s meeting is the second between the two teams this season, but just the second-ever meeting at Providence Park. Boston earned a 2-0 win in the only other meeting at Providence Park on July 6, 2013.
THORNS FC, CHICAGO PLAY TO 1-1 DRAW
Forward Jessica McDonald scored the quickest goal in NWSL history, but Portland and the Chicago Red Stars drew for a third consecutive match as the two teams tied 1-1 in front of 2,014 fans at Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill., on Thursday night. Defender Steph Catley
found space running down the left flank as she served a ball into McDonald who finished from close range with a one-touch shot in front of goal. The goal was McDonald’s 10th of the season, tying for second in the league in goals this season. McDonald also became the first player in club history to register 10 or more goals in a season. The Red Stars tallied the equalizer in the 77th minute. Forward Adriana Leon dribbled to the end line and crossed a ball back in front of the goal. Forward Jen Hoy made an initial attempt, but the ball bounced around and landed at the back post for midfielder Lori Chalupny as she slid in for the finish.
Boston enters Sunday’s match following a 2-1 loss against the Houston Dash on July 11 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Breakers took an early lead through forward Katie Schoepfer in the fourth minute, but Houston found two goals in the second half from forward Kealia Ohai. Ohai tallied a brace with goals in the 56th and 61st minutes. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher tallied a match- high seven saves for the Breakers.
The Breakers are winless in their last six matches and have a record of 0-6-2 on the road this season. Boston has conceded a league-high 37 goals, allowing multiple goals in 13 of its 17 matches this season.
Forward Jazmine Reeves leads the team with five goals and one assist. Mid- fielder Heather O’Reilly ranks among the league leaders in shots on goal (24), recording four goals and two assists in 15 matches this season. Naeher leads the NWSL this season with 76 saves.
BOQUETE NAMED NWSL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Midfielder Verónica Boquete
was selected as the NWSL Player of the Week for a second time this season. The Spain Women’s National Team captain received the honor for Week 14 after scoring a brace and tallying two assists in a 7-1 win against FC Kansas City on Sunday. She also received recognition during Week 10 for her play in Thorns FC’s 2-0 win on June 15 against Washington, scoring her first goal for the club. Boquete became the fourth player in club history to record two assists in a match on Sunday and tied the record for the quickest goal scored by a Thorns FC player (3rd minute). Boquete received a pass from forward Alex Morgan
and with a quick fake cut the ball back onto her left foot, firing a shot low and hard into the bottom right corner from just inside the box for her first goal and tallied the brace with a penalty-kick goal in the 74th minute.
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER
July is a busy month for Thorns FC, playing a total of seven games in 24 days, while traveling more than 14,000 miles round trip. The month includes four games away from Providence Park and three games against the Chicago Red Stars. Chicago and Portland met in back-to-back games six days apart (July 4 and July 9) and played for a third time in 14 days on Thursday. Thorns FC plays two games in a week for three consecutive weeks (July 9 & 13, July 17 & 20, July 23 & 27). Three of the team’s last four matches during the month are on the road. The team’s final four games from July 17-27 include multiple long road trips. Thorns FC will travel approximately 10,190 miles during that stretch, flying over 2,000 miles one way to both Chicago and Washington D.C., before making the short trip to Seattle (173 miles).
Portland has registered double-digit shot attempts in 15 of 18 matches this season. As a team, Thorns FC lead the league in shots (283), shots on goal (131) and corner kicks (118). Portland is averaging 15.9 shots per match and 7.5 shots on goal per match this season. At Providence Park, Thorns FC is averaging 18.1 shot attempts per match in 2014. Thorns FC has recorded 15 or more shots in all nine home matches this season.
Portland is the only team in the league with two players ranked among the top five in goals scored. Forward Jessica McDonald is tied for second in the NWSL in goals (10) and midfielder Allie Long
ranks fifth with eight goals. Midfielder Verónica Boquete is tied for second in the NWSL in assists (5). Forward Christine Sinclair
leads the league in shots (56) and is tied for the lead in shots on goal (28), while McDonald is among the top five in shots (46) and shots on goal (25).