NWSL Matchday Preview | Boston Breakers vs. Portland Thorns FC | May 1, 2016


Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Kickoff: 2 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Jordan Field (Boston, Mass.)
Forecast: Partly cloudy, 57 degrees
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Maggie Short Fourth Official: Rachel Woo
Webstream: www.thornsfc.com


Thorns FC remain on the road, playing the second match of a four-game road swing against the Boston Breakers on Sunday, May 1, at Jordan Field; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Pacific).

Sunday’s match is the second of four consecutive games on the road. Thorns FC played at FC Kansas City on April 23 and following Sunday’s match will remain on the East Coast to play the Washington Spirit six days later on May 7. Portland closes out its stretch of road games, traveling back to the West Coast to square off against Seattle Reign FC on May 14.

Through two games this season, midfielder Lindsey Horan has tallied two goals and midfielder Tobin Heath has registered three assists.


Thorns FC played to a 1-1 draw against FC Kansas City on April 23 at Swope Soccer VIllage in their second game of the 2016 season. The match was the first on the road for Portland in 2016. Despite conceding the opening goal of the match, Thorns FC played the entire second half with a player advantage as Shea Groom was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. Portland took advantage, outshooting Kansas City 8-2 in the second half, as midfielder Lindsey Horan tallied the equalizer, delivering a header off a Tobin Heath corner kick in the 78th minute inside the far post. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos registered three saves in the match, stopping a penalty-kick attempt by Groom in the 20th minute of the match.


Sunday’s match marks the 10th all-time meeting between Portland and Boston. Thorns FC posted a record of 2-1-0 during the 2015 season, winning a pair of games at home and falling in a tightly-contested match 1-0 on the road. In 2015, midfielder Mana Shim tallied two goals and two assists in three matches against Boston, while midfielder Allie Long registered three goals and one assist. Portland is 4-5-0 in the all-time series against the Breakers.


Boston enters Sunday’s match following a 3-0 loss against Seattle Reign FC on April 24 at Jordan Field. Led by new head coach Matt Beard, who arrived in Boston after serving as the manager of Liverpool Ladies FC, the Breakers return their top two leading goal scorers from a season ago – midfielder Kristie Mewis (6) and forward Stephanie McCaffrey (3). In addition, the Breakers acquired U.S. Women’s National Team defender Whitney Engen in an offseason trade and signed goalkeeper Libby Stout, who played for Beard at Liverpool Ladies. Beard also added another one of his former players from Liverpool to the roster - mid- fielder Louise Schillgard.


Thorns FC roster features several players with east coast ties. Michelle Betos, Emily Menges, Allie Long, Tobin Heath, Meg Morris and Meghan Klingenberg all grew up on the East Coast. Long, Menges and Betos are from New York, Heath and Morris are from New Jersey and Klingenberg grew up in Pennsylvania. Additionally. Menges also attended college on the East Coast at Georgetown University.


The combined average age of Thorns FC’s roster is 24.9 years old and features 12 players 25 or younger. Portland boasts a young, talented roster with several key players under the age of 25. The youngest players on the roster: Lindsey Horan and Hayley Raso - both are 21 years old and have been playing professional soccer since the age of 18. Additionally four of those players under the age of 25 - Dagny Brynjarsdottir (24), Emily Sonnett (22), Raso and Horan - have all been capped by their respective national teams.


Portland has found away to secure points in matches late even with the opponent scoring the first goal. In 2015, Thorns FC secured a point four times despite conceding the first goal and claimed three points on two occasions. Portland has earned four points through its first two games in 2016, earning a win against Orlando on April 17 and a draw on the road against FC Kansas City on April 23.


In two games this season, Portland has attempted 22 of its 16 shots in the second half. Thorns FC limited FC Kansas City to just two shots in the second half on April 23 and just one shot on goal. In addition, Thorns FC have surrendered just three shots on goal in the second half to start the season and have not allowed a goal in the second half of its first two matches. Against Boston in the all-time series, Portland has tallied 19 goals - 12 of those goals have been scored in the second half of matches.


With her next goal, midfielder Mana Shim will become the fifth player in Thorns FC history to register double-digit goals.

Midfielder Tobin Heath tallied her seventh career assist for Portland against FC Kansas City on April 23, which ranks fourth all-time in career assists, just behind Shim in third place with eight assists and midfielde Allie Long (10).

With her next assist, Long moves into a tie for first place in all-time assists.

In addition, goalkeeper Michelle Betos is four saves away from reaching 100 for her NWSL career.


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