Matchday Preview, Thorns @ Boston, 5.16.15


MATCH INFORMATION


Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Kickoff: 1 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium (Allston, Mass.)
Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 64 degrees
Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referees: Hagan Barnett, Kali Langevin Fourth Official: Amilcar Sicaju
Webstream: Available via www.portlandthornsfc.com


MATCH DAY PREVIEW


Riding a four-match unbeaten streak, Portland Thorns FC travel to Allston, Mass. to face off against the Boston Breakers on Saturday, May 16, Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium; kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (Pacific).


Saturday’s match marks Portland’s second road contest of the 2015 season and Thorns FC play three of their next four matches on the road. During the month of May, Portland is 4-1-1 all-time in road matches, dating back to the 2013 season. The match on Saturday is also the only match Thorns FC play on the road during the regular season at Boston.


Thorns FC have scored two or more goals in three of their four matches to begin the 2015 season. When scoring two or more goals, Portland has a record of 17-1-4 all-time and are 6-0-1 all-time when scoring at least two goals in a road game.


SCOUTING THE BOSTON BREAKERS


Boston (1-3-0, 3pts) suffered a 3-0 loss on the road against the Chicago Red Stars on the road on May 9. The Breakers lone win of the season came in their home opener against the Houston Dash on April 26. While most of Boston’s squad remains intact with the World Cup less than a month away, the Breakers will be without the services of goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who is with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Jami Kranich made her NWSL debut in goal with Naeher away on international duty. Every goal the Breakers have tallied has come from a different player: forward Nkem Ezurike, Julie King, Morgan Marlborough and Stephanie McCaffrey all have scored this season. McCaffrey, Boston’s 2015 NWSL College Draft first-round pick, has recorded a goal and two assists this season and has played all but 11 minutes in the team’s first four matches. Midfielder Kristie Mewis is a threat to score for Boston, ranking first in the league in shots (16) and third in shots on goal (9). In the last meeting against Thorns FC in Portland, McCaffrey tallied a second-half goal for Boston in a 2-1 loss.


AGAINST BOSTON


Saturday’s match with Boston marks the second of three meetings this season between the two clubs, and Portland’s first match against the Breakers on the road. Thorns FC opened the 2015 campaign with a 4-1 win against Boston at Providence Park as Long tallied a second-half brace and Mana Shim and midfielder Sinead Farrelly added goals. Portland has found success scoring goals against Boston as of late, tallying 11 goals in the last three meetings. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos earned the start in goal in the season-opening match against Boston, recording six saves in the win. Shim tallied a goal and two assists in the match as she became the fifth player in Thorns FC history to record a multi-assist match.


LAST MATCH RECAP


For a second-straight match, Portland rallied from a two-goal deficit early in the match to secure a 2-2 draw against the Washington Spirit on May 9 at Providence Park. Midfielder Mana Shim opened the scoring for Thorns FC in the 29th minute, collecting the rebound from forward Sarah Jackson’s initial shot that was saved. Early in the second half, midfielder Allie Long scored her fourth goal in four games, receiving a through ball in space from Shim and finishing over the top of Washington Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys to level the match. Several players made their season and NWSL debuts in the match. Forward Hanna Terry made her first appearance for Thorns FC in 2015, while forward Kelsey Haycook and defender Alyssa Kleiner made their NWSL debut. Forward Sarah Jackson earned her first NWSL start, while midfielder Taylor Comeau started for a second consecutive match.


MIDFIELD PARTNERSHIP


Midfielder Allie Long and Mana Shim have proved to be a lethal combo through the first four games of Portland’s NWSL season. Thorns FC have scored nine goals, seven of which of come off the foot of the dynamic pair, while four of the team’s seven assists, also from either Long or Shim. Notably, Shim has assisted on three of Long’s four goals, tallying a pair of assists in the last time the team faced Boston back on April 11 at Providence Park. Thorns FC have a record of 11-0-4 in regular-season NWSL matches since 2013 when either Long or Shim scores.


FAST START


For a second consecutive season Thorns FC have opened their regular season campaign unbeaten in their first four matches, posting a record of 2-0-2. The club longest unbeaten streak to start a campaign came during the 2013 season as Portland opened its inaugural season in the NWSL with a five- game unbeaten streak (4-0-1). Thorns FC longest unbeaten streak all-time stretched six games from July 4-23, 2014, posting a record of 2-0-4.


LONG AT THE TOP OF HER GAME 


Midfielder Allie Long is tied for the league lead with four goals in four games this season for Thorns FC. The midfielder has registered a goal or an assist in all four of Portland’s matches this season. Last time against Boston, Long tallied a brace. Among the top goal 10 goal scorers in the NWSL season, Long has the highest shots on goal percentage (73), while also leading the league in shots on goal (11).


AYO ARRIVAL


Portland’s newest signing arrived in the Rose City this week after finishing her season with Frauen Bundesliga club Turbine Potsdam. In her final match with the German side, Ayo netted her 10th goal of the season in a 3-1 victory over USV Jena. Genoveva (Ayo) Añonma ranks among the top scorers all-time in the history of the Frauen Bundesliga. In 113 Bundesliga games, Ayo scored 84 goals, while also adding 24 goals in 21 German Cup matches. A notable mention is the fact that all of Ayo’s goals have come during the run of play, none from the penalty spot. While Ayo may not be headed to Canada this summer she does have experience on the international level and is one of three current Thorns FC players, along with Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, to score in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. Ayo and Equatorial Guinea dropped all three matches in group play at the 2011 World Cup, but Ayo tallied both goals in a 3-2 loss against Australia.


MILESTONE WATCH


Midfielder Mana Shim played in her 40th career match for Thorns FC on May 9 against the Washington Spirit. She becomes one of four players in club history to have appeared in 40 or more games along with midfielder Allie Long, defender Nikki Marshall and forward Christine Sinclair. Shim also inches closer to becoming one of just five players to score 10 or more goals in a Thorns uniform. Shim sits alone in fifth place with eight goals. Additionally, Shim moved into a tie with Long for second-place in career assists (7). Long now ranks as Portland’s career leader in several categories after Saturday’s game against Washington. Most notably, Long became Thorns FC’s all-time career leader in points (38), while she moved into a tie with Sinclair for career goals (16). She will likely claim the top spot on the list for career starts this weekend (48) and surpass Marshall in that category as well.


THORNS AT THE WORLD CUP


Thorns FC will be well represented at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer. To date, seven players from four different countries have been named to their respective countries roster for the upcoming tournament. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Tobin Heath will represent the United States; forward Christine Sinclair, midfielder Kaylyn Kyle and defender Rhian Wilkinson will represent Canada on their home soil, while the most recent selections to their rosters will be first time attendees at the World Cup in England Women’s National Team forward Jodie Taylor and Australia Women’s National Team defender Steph Catley. Germany is set to announce it’s official roster on May 24. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was named to a provisional roster for Germany that will be training in Switzerland. The team will also play a final match against Switzerland on May 27 before departing for Canada. The U.S. has an upcoming match against Mexico on May 17, while Canada and England face off on May 29 and Australia hosts Vietnam on May 12.