NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit | May 21, 2016


Date: Saturday, May 21, 2016
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Forecast: Showers, 65 degrees
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, Kelsey Harms Fourth Official: Lucas Brooks


Portland Thorns FC return to Providence Park for their first match at home in over a month after embarking on a four-game road swing, which began on April 23 and concluded with a match against Seattle on May 14.

Thorns FC have earned at least one point in each of their first five matches this season, posting a record of 1-0-3 in their four road matches this season. Washington and Portland met on the road on May 7 and the two teams square off on Saturday for the second time in 14 days.

Heading into Saturday’s match, Portland looks to extend its unbeaten streak, which is currently tied for the longest unbeaten stretch in club history set in the first five games of the 2013 season.


Playing their four consecutive road match, Thorns FC earned a 1-1 draw on the road against Seattle Reign FC on May 14 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Making the first of two trips to Memorial Stadium this season, forward Nadia Nadim tallied her first goal of the 2016 campaign less than one minute into the second half to give Portland the lead, but Seattle equalized in the 49th and neither team was able to find a game winner. Midfielder Meg Morris made her first start for Portland in the match and tallied the assist on Nadim’s goal.


Portland comes into Saturday’s meeting with a 4-1-4 record in the all-time series against Washington, including a mark of 2-0-2 at home. In the last two meetings at Providence Park, the two teams combined for 10 goals, playing to a 2-2 draw on May 9, 2015, and a 3-3 draw on Aug. 30, 2015. Thorns FC have scored at least two goals in each of the four previous meetings at Providence Park and multiple goals in six of the nine contests. Midfielder Allie Long has tallied two goals and two assists in eight games against the Spirit, while forward Christine Sinclair has recorded two goals in four career matches against Washington.


The Spirit, along with Thorns FC, are the only other unbeaten team in the NWSL heading into Week 6 of the season. Washington kept its unbeaten streak alive with a 1-0 win at home against the Houston Dash on May 14 as midfielder Joanna Lohman tallied the game winner. The Spirit lead the NWSL with seven goals, while they have conceded just one this season - a league best. Washington is led by reigning NWSL MVP, Crystal Dunn, who has not scored a goal this season, but ranks among the league leaders with three assists. Defensively, the Spirit are bolstered by Canada Women’s National Team goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, who is tied for the NWSL lead with four shutouts, and U.S. Women’s National Team defender Ali Krieger.


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