Matchday Preview, Thorns vs. Dash, 5.23.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

NWSL Match Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Houston Dash | May 23, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC square off against the Houston Dash for the first time during the 2015 regular season in their final home match before the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup break; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Saturday’s match will be broadcast on a live via web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.

Thorns FC (2-1-2, 8pts) suffered their first loss of the 2015 regular season on the road against the Boston Breakers on May 16, but return to Providence Park riding an eight-game home unbeaten streak (6-0-2), dating back to the 2014 season. Portland has scored two or more goals in five of those eight matches, while also registering three shutouts in its last four home contests. Midfielder Allie Long has scored seven goals during Thorns FC’s eight-match unbeaten streak at home. As a team, Portland has scored 24 goals, while conceding just nine, during the stretch.

Statistically, Thorns FC have two of the top goal scorers in the league in midfielders Allie Long and Mana Shim. The pair has combined to score seven of Portland’s nine goals this season. Long is tied for the NWSL lead with four goals, while Shim sits just behind her in the rankings with three goals. Additionally, Shim is tied for the league lead with three assists this season, while she has registered an assist on three of Long’s four goals this season. Thorns FC have a record of 11-0-4 in regular-season NWSL matches since 2013 when either Long or Shim scores.

Saturday’s match marks the fourth meeting all-time between the two clubs, and just the second meeting in the all-time series at Providence Park. In 2014, Thorns FC recorded a 1-0 victory in front of the largest crowd in NWSL history (19,123) on Aug. 3 at Providence Park. Portland is 3-0-0 against Houston all-time, recording shutouts in all three matches. Midfielder Allie Long tallied the game-winning goal in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in Houston to open the 2014 campaign on April 12, 2014, at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dash, who are the only other NWSL team affiliated with a Major League Soccer club (Houston Dynamo), joined the league as an expansion club in 2014.

Houston (1-2-2, 5pts) settled for a 2-2 tie against the Chicago Red Stars on May 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dash midfielder Rachel Axon converted from the penalty spot in the 28th minute and forward Kealia Ohai doubled the lead in the 59th minute, but Chicago got a second-half brace from rookie forward Sofia Huerta to secure a point on the road. Houston is without six players due to FIFA Women’s World Cup preparations, including starting goalkeeper and Canadian international Erin McLeod as well as U.S. Women’s National Team midfielders Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian and defender Meghan Klingenberg. Additionally, the Dash lost starting defender Stephanie Ochs to a season-ending injury. Houston is led by forwards Jessica McDonald and Ohai, who have combined to score five of the Dash’s seven goals this season.

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