Matchday Preview, Thorns @ Spirit, 5.30.15


Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)
Forecast: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Wooten, Mike D’Angelo Fourth Official: Danielle Chesky


Portland Thorns FC begin a two-game road swing on Saturday, May 30, traveling to Boyds, Md., to square off against the Washington Spirit at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific).

Saturday’s match is the second of three meetings between Washington and Portland this season and Thorns FC’s only regular-season road match against the Spirit in 2015. Portland is 2-0-1 all-time on the road against Washington, while also posting a record of 4-2-1 on the road during the month of May since 2013.

In the previous meeting between the two clubs, Thorns FC rallied from a two-goal deficit to secure a 2-2 draw against the Spirit on May 9 at Providence Park. Midfielder Mana Shim opened the scoring for Portland, while midfielder Allie Long netted the equalizer early in the second half.


Thorns FC saw their eight-game home unbeaten streak snapped, suffering a hard-fought, 1-0 loss against the Houston Dash on May 23 at Providence Park. despite outshooting the Dash 18-4 in the match, while also recording eight shots on goals. Portland finished with double-digit shot attempts for the third time in its last four matches. Defensively, Thorns FC allowed just four shots; the fewest shots conceded in a match this season. It also marked the third time this season Portland has allowed three or fewer shots on goal in a match. Additionally, Portland conceded just one shot attempt in the second half while pushing for the equalizer.


Thorns FC are unbeaten in the all-time series against the Washington Spirit (4-0-2), having played to consecutive draws on May 9 (2-2) and July 23, 2014 (1-1). In the all-time series, Thorns FC has a 13-5 advantage in goals scored and has conceded multiple goals to Washington just once in the all-time series. On the road against the Spirit, Portland has outscored Washington 9-3 in those meetings at Maureen Hendricks Field. Thorns FC have scored at least two goals in five of the six meetings, including two of three matches on the road. Long has recorded a goal or an assist in three of her last four appearances against Washington, including a goal in a 6-1 win over the Spirit on June 21, 2014, on the road.


Washington (3-3-1, 10pts) is coming off a 3-2 loss against the Western New York Flash on May 23 at Sahlen’s Stadium. The two teams traded goals until dead-locked at 2-2 Flash forward Jasmyne Spencer tallied the eventual game winner in the 57th minute. Led by the tandem of midfielder Christine Nairn and forward Crystal Dunn, the Spirit rank second in the league in goals (12) and Nairn and Dunn have combined to score nine of those goals. Dunn tallied her NWSL-leading fifth goal against Western New York, while Nairn netted her fourth of the season. Washington has played five of its seven games on the road this season and hosts just its third home match of the season against Thorns FC on Saturday and have a record of 2-0-0 at home this season. Washington will again be without the services of several players due to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, notably forward Francisca Ordega, who tallied a goal against Thorns FC in the last meeting between the two clubs. Ordega had two goals and two assists in five matches and has now joined Nigeria in preparation for Women’s World Cup. In addition, the Spirit waived forward Caroline Miller ahead of their match this weekend.


Midfielder Allie Long and Mana Shim have proved to be a lethal combo for Thorns FC this season. Of the team’s nine goals scored this season, seven have come from the dynamic pair, while four of the team’s seven assists have also come from either Long or Shim. Notably, Shim has assisted on three of Long’s four goals. Thorns FC have a record of 11-0-4 in regular-season NWSL matches since 2013 when either Long or Shim scores.


Portland’s defense ranks near the top of the league in goals allowed (7), tied for second-fewest goals conceded in the NWSL this season, while having only surrendered multiple goals in two matches in 2015. Thorns FC are tied for the fewest shots on goal allowed (25) in the league and also rank tied for third in fewest shots conceded (57). Portland has surrendered nine shots or less in four of its six matches this season.


Midfielder McCall Zerboni has started and played 90 minutes in 21 consecutive NWSL regular-season matches, dating back to her 2014 campaign with Western New York.


Midfielder Allie Long is tied for second in the NWSL with four goals this season for Thorns FC. The midfielder has registered a goal or an assist in four of Portland’s six matches this season. Additionally, Long ranks second in the league in shots (19) and shots on goal (12). Among currently active NWSL players ranked in the top 10 in scoring, Long has the second best shots on goal percentage (63).


Thorns FC have scored two or more goals in three of their six matches this season and have scored seven goals in their last two trips to face Washington. 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. Thorns FC have scored two or more goals in 42 percent of their NWSL regular-season matches.


Thorns FC will be well represented at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer. Eight players from five 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 for a second consecutive World Cup. Forward Christine Sinclair, midfielder Kaylyn Kyle and defender Rhian Wilkinson will represent Canada on their home soil. It will be Sinclair and Wilkinson’s fourth World Cup and Kyle’s second of her career. Germany Women’s National Team goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was named to her fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup roster. Both Angerer and Sinclair will captain their respective nations teams. Two Thorns FC players are set to make their World Cup debuts, Australia Women’s National Team defender Steph Catley and England Women’s National Team forward Jodie Taylor. The group has combined to score 233 international goals and has 835 career caps, collectively.


Midfielders Allie Long and McCall Zerboni both played in their 50 career NWSL regular-season match against Houston. Long is the first Thorns FC player to reach 50 matches played. Defender Kat Williamson is set to become the third Thorns FC player to reach 50 career NWSL regular-season matches, sitting on 49 appearances heading into Saturday’s match at Washington. Long ranks tied for third among NWSL in career appearances, including playoff matches, at 52, while she is fourth all-time in total minutes played (4,513).

In total, there are 17 active NWSL outfield players who have played over 4,000 career minutes in all-competitions. Long ranks fourth among those players having logged 4,513 minutes and is one of just five players to have played 4,500 minutes in her NWSL career.

Defender Emily Menges surpassed 2,500 minutes played against Houston, becoming the sixth Thorns FC player in history to reach 2,500 minutes played.

Midfielder Mana Shim has the chance this season to become the first Thorns FC to reach double-digit marks in career goals and career assists. Shim currently has eight career goals and seven career assists. Shim needs two more goals to become the fifth player in club history with 10 goals and three assists to become the first player to reach 10 career assists.


Portland is 19-1-5 all-time when scoring first in a match, including a record of 2-0-0 this season. Thorns FC are 13-0-5 all-time when leading at the half, with a record of 4-0-3 in road contests and 23-4-9 when leading or tied at half. Portland has found success as well when leading late in matches, earning wins in 19 of 23 matches when leading at the 75th minute of a match. Thorns FC are 16-8-8 all- time when outshooting their opponents in a match and own a record of 6-2-5 in road matches with an advantage in shots. Also, Portland is 10-5-4 when limiting its opponent to single-digit shot attempts in a match.