By the time the Thorns kickoff against NJ/NY Gotham FC on Sunday, it will be 15 days between games at Providence Park. The Thorns last played there on June 20; the Timbers, June 26. With the Timbers having just started a 16-day break from play (set to return on July 17), Portland soccer is slowing down for all of us, but for those who’d found a rhythm of regular Thorns and Timbers games in Goose Hollow, the first full weeks have summer have come with a disruption.
When games return, so will the full experience at Providence Park. July 11’s match against Gotham FC will be the first time the Thorns or Timbers will be permitted to have full capacity since March 2020. Though the June games that had increased capacity brought much of the matchday experience back, Providence Park won’t itself until the fan experience is back to normal.
Sunday is the first chance for that. Until then, here’s This Week in PTFC:
This week in returns
It was roughly one year ago —July 8, to be precise — that Major League Soccer got back on the field.
Suspended indefinitely as COVID-19 gripped the world, MLS returned to play with MLS Is Back, a tournament staged in a bubble-esque environment at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Teams would isolate themselves from the rest of the world at two of the resort's hotels and play games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex nearby. The teams that made the final would live in isolation until at least August 11.
By the time they won that final, the Timbers had spent 40 days in the bubble. For most teams, the commitment was shorter. But for the league, the 35-day spell between first kick and final whistle created a blueprint for the rest of the season. It all started July 8.
This week in highlight goals
Since we're less than 24 hours after this moment of grace from Lindsey Horan ...
... how about little Horan history? Flashback July 7, 2017. The Thorns are mired in Houston until a late foul give Portland just what
The Thorns had struggled for 90 minutes and were going into added time with nothing to show for their night: no goals on the scoreboard; no points to take home. But a late foul 30 yards from goal gave Horan and a chance to secure a draw.
We all know the most-famous free kick in Thorns history. August 31, 2013. Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York. Tobin Heath from distance with what legend says was a broken foot. Please, never "well, actually" that legend.
After that, though? Horan’s kick might be two. She took a point home from Houston.
This week in absences
Eryk Williamson named to the United States’ Gold Cup roster
, we have a full picture of who is and will be missing over the next couple of weeks. Here’s who is
here, right now, for the Thorns and Timbers.
This week in opponents
With the Timbers off, all PTFC focus is on Sunday’s noon kickoff against Gotham. It will be the third meeting of the year between the teams, with Portland going 1-0-1 over the first two matches. The big caveat to that draw, though? The Thorns left the field celebrating a Challenge Cup title after penalty kicks sealed a new title for Portland. Over 180 minutes, though, the Thorns have only outscored Gotham, 2-1.
Check out everything Portland-Louisville on ThornsFC.com
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