Matchday preview, Thorns vs. FCKC, 7.13.14
Photo by David Blair

NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. FC Kansas City | July 13, 2014

Portland Thorns FC vs. FC Kansas City
Presented by Army National Guard on Military Appreciation Night
Date: Friday, July 4, 2014
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Forecast: 95 degrees, partly cloudy
Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Garner, Ronald Lagraff Fourth Official: Ben Warren

Match Preview

Thorns FC return to the Rose City for their third match in the last 10 days, playing host to FC Kansas City for the second, and final, time during the regular season at Providence Park.

Portland played to a 1-1 draw with Chicago in a midweek match on Wednesday at the Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. Midfielder Allie Long tallied the team’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the 27th minute.

Heading into Sunday’s match, Thorns FC are tied for 5th place in the NWSL standings with 22 points. Portland is a single point off the pace of Western New York and Washington who are tied for 3rd with 23 points.

Portland is 2-1-0 all time at Providence Park against FC Kansas City and has scored at least three goals in each of those meetings.

Last time against Kansas City

Thorns FC saw a shot cleared off the goal line in the first half and another rattle the crossbar in the second half, but could not find a late equalizer in a 1-0 loss against FC Kansas City on June 28 at Verizon Wireless Field in Kansas City, Mo. Forward Alex Morgan saw her header cleared off the goal line in the 16th minute, while midfielder Allie Long attempt from distance in the 84th minute was tipped off the crossbar by FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. The Blues broke the deadlock just before halftime. Forward Amy Rodriguez stole the ball on the left side and sent a pass to forward Lauren Holiday at the top of the box. Holiday’s shot deflected off a Portland defender and into the net. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made four saves in the match as Thorns FC limited FC Kansas City to nine shots in the match.

Scouting FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City enters Sunday’s match following a 5-0 win against Sky Blue FC on July 6, at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. The Blues scored four goals in the first half as forward Sarah Hagen earned her first start for the club and tallied a brace. Holiday added a goal in the match, while forward Amy Rodriguez and midfielder Erika Tymrak also netted goals.

FC Kansas City is riding a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in its last nine matches. The Blues have lost just four games this season, but all four of those losses have come on the road.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squad is tied for second in the league in goals (30) and fewest goals allowed (17). Forwards Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday rank among the league leaders with 10 and seven goals, respectively. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart leads the league with eight shutouts. FC Kansas City is tied for the league lead with 21 assists. Midfielder Jen Buczkowski, Holiday and Tymrak all rank in the top ten in the NWSL with four assists each.

Thorns FC play to 1-1 draw at Chicago

Portland and Chicago played to a draw for the second time in six days on Wednesday at Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. Midfielder Allie Long put Thorns FC on the board in the 27th minute as she converted from the spot after midfielder Verónica Boquete was fouled in the box. The goal was Long’s sixth of the season and the third from the penalty spot in 2014. Chances were limited in the match as the two teams combined for 16 shots in the match. The Red Stars tallied the equalizer in the final five minutes of match. Portland was whistled for a handball in the box and forward Emily Van Egmond scored the penalty-kick goal in the 86th minute. It was the third draw between the two teams in six meetings all-time.

An old-fashioned shootout

With both clubs featuring a wealth of attacking talent, it is no surprise that Thorns FC and FC Kansas City have produced some exciting matchups. In seven meetings dating back to the 2013 season, including a 2013 playoff semifinal, the two teams have combined for 27 goals. In four of the seven matches, both teams scored multiple goals. Thorns FC have scored 14 goals in the alltime series against FC Kansas City, with goals coming from eight different players. Midfielder Allie Long has three goals in the all-time series, while forwards Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald have each tallied a pair of goals. FC Kansas City forward Lauren Holiday is the leading goal scorer in the all-time series (6). In 2014, both Thorns FC and the Blues rank among league leaders in attacking statistical categories. Both rank among league leaders in shots attempts (POR 252, KC 212) and shots on goal (POR 118, KC 117). Portland (111) and FC Kansas City (75) are first and second, respectively, in the NWSL in corner kicks.

Record-setting performance

Forward Jessica McDonald set a new single-season club record for goals, tallying her ninth goal of the season against Chicago on July 4. McDonald broke the previous record of eight goals set by forwards Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair during the 2013 season. Adding to the list of recordsetting performances, McDonald became the second player in club history to score two braces in a season. Forward Christine Sinclair accomplished this feat in 2013. Both of McDonald’s braces this season were scored within a span of less than five minutes. She scored consecutive goals against FC Kansas City on April 26 in the 84th and 88th minutes and came on as a second-half substitute, scoring goals in the 85th and 87th minutes against the Washington Spirit on June 21.

Dog Days of Summer

July is a busy month for Thorns FC as the team will play a total of seven games in 24 days, 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. July begins with back-to-back games against Chicago as the two teams meet twice in a span of six days and three times in 14 days. Twice this month, Portland is on the road for a midweek game before returning to play a weekend home match. 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).

Scoring Chances

Portland has registered double-digit shot attempts in 13 of 16 matches this season. Forward Christine Sinclair leads the NWSL in shots (51) and is second in shots on goal (27). Forward Jessica McDonald ranks among the top five in the league in both categories with 43 shots and 24 shots on goal. As a team, Thorns FC lead the league in shots (252), shots on goal (118) and corner kicks (111). Portland is averaging 18 shot attempts per match at home this season, including 10.4 attempts per match in the second half of matches at Providence Park.