NWSL Matchday Preview | Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC | July 17, 2014

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2014
Kickoff: 5 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Benedictine Sports Complex (Lisle, Ill.)
Forecast: Sunny, 73 degrees
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees: Hagan Barnett, Jordan Pramuk
Fourth Official: Edgar Osorio
Webstream: www.portlandthornsfc.com


Thorns FC return to Lisle, Ill., for their third match, and final, regular-season match against the Chicago Red Stars on Thursday, July 17, at Benedictine Sports Complex; kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific). The two teams have met twice during the month of July and face off for the second time in nine days on Thursday. Chicago and Portland played to a 2-2 draw on July 4 at Providence Park and a 1-1 draw on July 9 at the Benedictine Sports Complex. Both teams enter Thursday’s match unbeaten in their last three games.

In their last meeting, midfielder Allie Long converted from the spot in the 27th minute after midfielder Verónica Boquete was fouled in the box to give Portland a 1-0 lead. Chicago equalized in the 86th minute after Thorns FC were whistled for a handball in the box. Forward Emily Van Egmond scored the penalty-kick goal for the Red Stars.


Portland earned a record-setting 7-1 victory over FC Kansas City on Sunday at Providence Park as midfielders Allie Long and Verónica Boquete each tallied a brace. Thorns FC set three NWSL records in the match: most goals scored in a single game (7), largest margin of victory (6) and most goals combined between two teams (8). Portland snapped FC Kansas City’s seven-match winning streak as well as an unbeaten streak of nine matches. Sunday marked the second time this season two players scored a brace in a match. Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald each tallied a brace against Washington on June 21. Forwards Christine Sinclair and Morgan each tallied a goal and an assist in the match. Midfielder Amber Brooks scored her first goal, while defender Steph Catley recorded her first assist for the club. Portland outshot FC Kansas City, 19-15, in the match and had 10 shots on goal while FC Kansas City tallied three.


The Chicago Red Stars are coming off a 1-0 win at home against Seattle Reign FC on July 12 at Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. Chicago snapped Seattle’s 16-match unbeaten streak as forward Melissa Tancredi scored the game-winning goal in the eighth minute for Chicago.
The Red Stars are unbeaten in their last three matches and have a record of 3-2-2 at home this season. Chicago is one of the top defensive teams in league, allowing the second fewest goals (18) in the NWSL and only five goals at home. Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc ranks second in the league in goals-against average (0.93) and tied for second in shutouts (4). Twelve different players have scored at least one goal for Chicago this season led by forward Jen Hoy’s four goals and two assists. Seven different players have scored multiple goals for Chicago this season. Midfielder Lori Chalupny is the only player to appear and start all 17 matches this season, scoring three goals.


Thorns FC are 11-4-6 all time on the road in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Portland has continued its strong road form in 2014 with the second-best road record in the league (3-2-3). In 21 road matches since 2013, Thorns FC have outscored their opponents, 29-18. Portland has conceded multiple goals on the road just four times and registered eight shutouts. As a team, Portland has conceded just nine goals on the road this season, while recording two shutouts. This season, midfielder Allie Long has scored four of her eight goals on the road, while forward Alex Morgan has tallied two of her three goals away from the Rose City. Heading into Thursday’s match, Thorns FC are 2-0-1 on the road all-time against Chicago.


Midfielder Verónica Boquete was selected as the NWSL Player of the Week for a second time this season. The Spain Women’s National Team captain received the honor for Week 14 after scoring a brace and tallying two assists in a 7-1 win against FC Kansas City on Sunday. She also received recognition during Week 10 for her play in Thorns FC’s 2-0 win on June 15 against Washington, scoring her first goal for the club. Boquete became the fourth player in club history to record two assists in a match on Sunday and tied the record for the quickest goal scored by a Thorns FC player (3rd minute). Boquete received a pass from forward Alex Morgan and with a quick fake cut the ball back onto her left foot, firing a shot low and hard into the bottom right corner from just inside the box for her first goal and tallied the brace with a penalty-kick goal in the 74th minute.


July is a busy month for Thorns FC, playing a total of seven games in 24 days, while traveling more than 14,000 miles round trip. The month includes four games away from Providence Park and three games against the Chicago Red Stars. Chicago and Portland met in back-to-back games six days apart (July 4 and July 9) and play for a third time in 14 days on Thursday. Thorns FC plays two games in a week for three consecutive weeks (July 9 & 13, July 17 & 20, July 23 & 27). Three of the team’s last four matches during the month are on the road. The team’s final four games from July 17-27 include multiple long road trips. Thorns FC will travel approximately 10,190 miles during that stretch, flying over 2,000 miles one way to both Chicago and Washington D.C., before making the short trip to Seattle (173 miles).


Portland has registered double-digit shot attempts in 14 of 17 matches this season. As a team, Thorns FC lead the league in shots (271), shots on goal (128) and corner kicks (114). Portland is averaging 15.9 shots per match and 7.5 shots on goal per match this season. Thorns FC has recorded 15 or more shots in all nine home matches this season and double-digit attempts in five of eight road matches.


Portland is the only team in the league with two players ranked among the top five in goals scored. Forward Jessica McDonald is tied for third (9) and midfielder Allie Long ranks fifth with eight goals. Midfielder Verónica Boquete is tied for second in the NWSL in assists (5). Forward Christine Sinclair leads the league in shots (55) and is tied for the lead in shots on goal (28), while McDonald is among the top five in shots (44) and shots on goal (24).


Five different players have registered a brace for Thorns FC in the club’s history: Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan, Jessica McDonald (2), Allie Long and Verónica Boquete. Thorns FC have scored five braces this season. McDonald scored one against FC Kansas City (April 26) and Washington (June 21). Morgan added her brace on June 21 against Washington. Sinclair’s came during the 2013 season.