Date: Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Forecast: Clear, 83 degrees
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, JJ Blodgett
Fourth Official: Jason Perlewitz
National TV: FS1
Talent: Jenn Hildreth (play-by-play), Kyndra de St. Aubin (analyst)
Webstream: FOX Sports Go
Playing their third straight game at Providence Park in eight days, Thorns FC play host to the Western New York Flash in the final regular-season outing at home and the second and final match between the two teams this season.
With only two games remaining on the schedule, Portland currently sits in second place in the NWSL standings. Thorns FC are four points behind the first place Washington Spirit (39pts) and hold a six-point edge over Western New York (29pts) and the Chicago Red Stars (29pts).
Portland is currently riding a three-game winning streak at home dating back to July 30, and have outscored their opponents 20-6 in nine games at Providence Park this season.
LAST MATCH RECAP
Playing their second home match in four days, Portland Thorns FC defeated the Houston Dash behind a brace from midfielder Allie Long, a goal from forward Christine Sinclair and two assists from midfielder Tobin Heath. Thorns FC opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Heath’s delivery from a free kick found the head of Long, whose looping header found the back of the net. Long notched her brace in the 71st minute after Heath beat her defender and picked out Long, who took a touch and volleyed her left-footed finish home. Sinclair would cap the scoring in the 90th minute after she was first to a loose ball in the box and tapped in her finish from six yards out.
Sunday’s match marks the 11th meeting all-time between the two clubs. Thorns FC lead the all-time regular-season series 4-2-3, including a mark of 2-1-1 at home. In the inaugural NWSL Championship on Aug. 31, 2013 at Sahlen’s Stadium, Thorns FC defeated Western New York 2-0 behind goals from Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair to help the club win its first championship. Tonight’s match is the second and final meeting between the two teams this season as Portland defeated the Flash 2-0 at Rochester Rhinos stadium back on June 17.
SCOUTING THE FLASH
Western New York (8-5-5, 29pts) comes into Sunday’s match having drawn its last three matches. In their last match, the Flash played to a 3-3 draw on the road against the Boston Breakers on Sept. 7 at Jordan Field. Western New York has a 2-2-4 record on the road this season and is winless in its last five road matches (0-1-4) dating back to May 14. Western New York has scored a league-best 34 goals, tallying eight of those goals in the last four games. The Flash are lead by forward Lynn Williams, who ranks first in the NWSL in goals scored (9), while forward Jessica McDonald is second on the team with eight goals and ranks tied for second in the league in assists (6).
With the 3-0 win over the Dash on Sept. 7, Portland clinched its third playoff berth in four seasons, joining the Washington Spirit as the only other team to clinch a playoff post in the NWSL this season. With a win or a draw against Western New York tonight, Thorns FC will clinch home-field advantage in the semifinals of the 2016 NWSL playoffs.