Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Kickoff: 5 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, Texas)
Forecast: 71 degrees, chance of showers
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Tony Obas
Fourth Official: Jody Pinkerton
Local TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest
Local TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest
Wednesday’s match marks the second of three regular-season meetings between Portland Thorns FC and the Houston Dash (5pm PT, CSNNW - In Portland on Comcast channels 37 and 737). Portland travels to face Houston for the second time in six games at BBVA Compass Stadium following the team’s first meeting in Houston’s inaugural NWSL match on April 12. Thorns FC, playing in their first midweek match of the season, enter Wednesday’s game following a hard-fought, 1-0 loss against league-leaders Seattle Reign FC at Providence Park. Despite outshooting Reign FC 18-14, including 9-5 on goal, Thorns FC conceded the game winning goal in the 89th minute for their first loss of the season. Houston enters Wednesday’s match on a three-game losing streak. Head coach Randy Waldrum’s side has not scored a goal in 275 minutes, while starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod missed Houston’s 1-0 loss at Chicago on Sunday due to injury.
THORNS FC LOSE HARD-FOUGHT MATCH
Portland Thorns FC tied a season high with 18 shot attempts, but conceded an 89th-minute goal to National Women’s Soccer League-leading scorer Kim Little in a hard-fought, 1-0 loss against Seattle Reign FC in front of 14,182 fans at Providence Park on Saturday. Portland forced goalkeeper Hope Solo into a season-high nine saves, including six in the second half while pressuring the Reign FC (6-0-0, 18pts) back line throughout the match. Thorns FC delivered six shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, including a header from forward Christine Sinclair that was cleared off the line by defender Elli Reed in the 47th minute. Forward Jessica McDonald saw a header tipped over the crossbar in the 68th minute and, on the ensuing corner kick, midfielder Amber Brooks fired a shot toward the near right post that was caught by Solo. Seattle earned the game-winning goal in the 89th minute when forward Beverly Goebel was able to pressure a turnover in Portland’s own half. Little raced onto the loose ball at the top of the penalty box and the Scottish international dribbled around goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and slotted a shot into the back of the net for her league leading fifth goal of the season, snapping Portland’s season-opening, four-match unbeaten streak. The loss was Portland’s first since Aug. 7, 2013, a span of 277 days. Angerer made four saves in the match as Thorns FC held Seattle to a season-low five shots on goal. Sinclair finished with a team-high five shots, including three on goal for Portland. Nine different players attempted a shot for Thorns FC in the match.
LAST TIME VERSUS HOUSTON
Midfielder Allie Long scored the game’s decisive goal in the first half and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer registered a shutout as defending-National Women’s Soccer League champions Portland Thorns FC opened the 2014 regular season with a 1-0 win on the road against the Houston Dash before 8,097 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium on April 12. Thorns FC did well to manage the early pressure and energy from the NWSL expansion Dash playing in their inaugural match at home. Portland secured the lead in the 24th minute as Long headed home her first goal of the season. The Thorns FC defense held Houston to just three shots on goal during the match, and Angerer recorded two saves in her team debut to help Portland head coach Paul Riley record the victory in his first match at the helm.
SCOUTING THE DASH
The ninth team - and first expansion team - in the National Women’s Soccer League, Houston joined the league for the 2014 season. Coached by Texas native Randy Waldrum, a longtime collegiate coach who won two NCAA National Championships and compiled a 294-58-17 record over 15 years at the University of Notre Dame, the Dash play their home games at BBVA Compass Stadium near downtown Houston. The Dash earned their first-ever win on April 20 in a dramatic, 3-2 win over the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium. Trailing 2-1 late in the second half, midfielder Teresa Noyola registered two goals in the final 10 minutes, including the game-winning penalty kick in the 85th minute to secure the victory. Since recording their first win, the Dash have lost three straight matches, including a 1-0 loss against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday. Entering Wednesday’s match against Portland, Houston has not scored a goal in 275 minutes. Noyola leads the club with two goals, while forward Ella Masar has scored one.
LONG EARNS FIRST WNT CAP
Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long earned her first international cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team, playing 22 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 1-1 draw on May 8 against the Canada Women’s National Team before 28,255 fans at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Canada. Previously representing the United States at the U-17 and U-20 levels, Long replaced starting midfielder Morgan Brian in the 68th minute, earning her first career appearance at the senior level for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The Thorns FC midfielder was previously called into training camp in July 2010, but did not feature in either of the national team’s two matches against Sweden due to injury. Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair played 90 minutes for Canada in the draw, while Thorns FC defender Nikki Marshall was not named to the 18-player, matchday roster for the United States. The call into training camp was the first for Marshall.
FIRST START, FIRST APPEARANCE
Thorns FC defender Kat Tarr earned her first NWSL start, playing 86 minutes against Seattle Reign FC on May 10. Playing left back, Tarr delivered a powerful header off a long cross from Amber Brooks in the fourth minute against Reign FC, forcing goalkeeper Hope Solo to parry the ball over the crossbar. Additionally, rookie forward Elisabeth Sullivan earned her first professional appearance, entering the match as a late substitute for midfielder Angie Kerr.
AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Thorns FC forward Jessica McDonald and midfielder Allie Long are tied for third in the NWSL with three goals apiece. Long ranks fourth in the NWSL in shots (19) and is tied for third in shots on goal (9). Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ranks fourth in the league with a 0.80 goals-against average in five appearances. Portland has conceded just 22 shots on goal in five games, which is tied for second in the NWSL behind Seattle. Additionally, Thorns FC have conceded just four goals in five games, which ranks tied for third fewest in the league.