PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC begin a two-game road stretch on Wednesday, traveling to face off against the Washington Spirit at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.; kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (Pacific). Portland returns to the Rose City briefly before traveling to square off against Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, July 27, at Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific).
Both matches will be available via a live webstream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
Thorns FC (8-6-5, 29pts) are coming off a 6-3 win against the Boston Breakers on Sunday at Providence Park. Portland scored four unanswered goals after rallying from a one-goal deficit three times in the victory. Forward Christine Sinclair tallied the first hat-trick in the team’s history and the fourth in NWSL history on Sunday. Forward Alex Morgan registered a goal and two assists, while midfielder Allie Long and forward Jessica McDonald each scored a goal.
Portland has found a spark offensively over the last 10 matches, scoring 26 goals after scoring just 10 goals through the first nine matches of the season. Thorns FC currently lead the league in goals (36), assists (26), shots (300), shots on goal (138) and corner kicks (125). On Sunday, Portland set single-season club records for goals and assists, breaking the previous record of 32 goals and 24 assists set during the 2013 season.
Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last five matches (2-0-3) heading into Wednesday’s game. The race for the playoffs is close as Portland sits in third place in the NWSL table with 29 points. Thorns FC are five points behind FC Kansas City in second place (35) with five regular-season matches remaining on the schedule, while the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars each have 27 points and are tied for fourth place. The top four teams based on points qualify for the NWSL playoffs.
Portland and the Washington Spirit meet for the third, and final, time this regular season on Wednesday. Thorns FC won the previous meeting 6-1 on June 21 in Boyds, Md., as Morgan and McDonald each registered a brace in the win. Portland has earned a record of 4-0-0 all-time against the Spirit and has outscored Washington 12-2 in those four meetings, including a pair of shutouts.
Thorns FC make their first, and only, visit to Seattle to take on Reign FC on Sunday as the two teams meet for the second time this season. Thorns FC and the league-leading Reign will play twice in final five games of the regular season. Portland plays host to Seattle to close out the regular season on Sunday, August 17, at Providence Park. In the first regular-season meeting on May 10 in Portland, Reign FC scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute of the match. Thorns FC are 4-1-0 all-time against Seattle, including a mark of 2-0-0 on the road.
Portland is 11-4-7 all-time on the road in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Thorns FC have the second-best road record (3-2-4) in the league in 2014, conceding just 10 away from home this season.
Individually, McDonald is tied for the league lead in goals scored (11), while Long is fifth with nine goals. Sinclair leads the league in shots (60), is tied for first in shots on goal (31) and is tied for sixth in goals (7). Midfielder Verónica Boquete registered her sixth assist of the season on Sunday, tying her for the league lead, while also establishing a new single-season club record. The previous mark was five assists set by Morgan during the 2013 season. Morgan ranks among the league leaders in assists (4), while goalkeeper Nadine Angerer is fourth in saves (58).
Washington (8-8-3, 27pts) is coming off a 4-2 loss against Sky Blue FC on Sunday at Yurcak Field. The Spirit trailed 4-0 before tallying two goals in the final two minutes as forward Jodie Taylor scored in the 88th minute and defender Robyn Gayle recorded a goal in the 90th minute. As a team, the Spirit have allowed the second most goals (38) in the league, while conceding multiple goals in 13 of their 19 matches this season. Prior to Sunday’s loss, Washington had claimed at least one point in four straight matches but has just two wins in its last eight matches. The Spirit are led by Taylor’s 10 goals, while midfielder Diana Matheson ranks among the league leaders with seven goals. Matheson is tied for fifth in the league in assists (4) as well. The pair has combined for 17 of the team’s 28 goals this season.
Seattle Reign FC (13-1-4, 43pts) clinched the first of four berths to the NWSL playoffs with a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium. Forward Beverly Goebel scored in the 70th minute, but Red Stars forward Christen Press scored the equalizer in the 82nd minute to secure the draw. Reign FC went unbeaten in its first 16 matches before suffering its first defeat of the season to Chicago, 1-0, on July 20 at the Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. Seattle is unbeaten at home this season (6-0-3) and has conceded the fewest goals in the league (15). Midfielder Kim Little is tied for first in the NWSL in goals (11). Goebel and forward Jessica Fishlock each have four goals and rank among the league leaders with five and four assists, respectively. Goalkeeper Hope Solo leads the league with a 0.93 goals-against average.
Following Sunday’s match, Thorns FC return to the Rose City to play host to the Houston Dash on Sunday, August 3, at Providence Park. Sunday’s nationally televised match, sponsored by Providence Health & Services, will be broadcast on ESPN2; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific).
Sinclair named NWSL Player of the Week
Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair was named National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week for Week 15. Sinclair scored the first hat-trick in the club’s history and the fourth in NWSL history as Portland earned a 6-3 win against the Boston Breakers on Sunday at Providence Park.
In 18 matches this season (17 starts), Sinclair has recorded seven goals and one assist. Sinclair is tied for sixth in the NWSL in goals and leads the league in shots (60), while she is tied for the league lead in shots on goal (31).
Boquete named to 2013-14 UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe shortlist
Thorns FC midfielder Verónica Boquete was one of 11 players named to the initial shortlist for the 2013-14 UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award on July 17. The Spain Women’s National Team captain helped guide Swedish club Tyresö FF to the 2013-14 UEFA Women’s Champions League final, tallying a goal and an assist in the match, before her arrival in Portland.
The shortlist was voted on by the coaches of the eight teams that participated in last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinals. The second round of voting will be composed of 12 journalists and the final three nominees will be named on August 14, the group of 12 journalists will cast their votes live during a special ceremony at the UEFA Champions League group draw stage.
Morgan wins Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Sports Award for “Sickest Moves”
Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan received the award for “Sickest Moves” at the first annual Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Sports Awards on July 17. Morgan beat out several notable athletes, including Landon Donovan, Blake Griffin, Lionel Messi and Adrian Peterson to win the award.
Boquete, McDonald highlighted in ESPN FC’s “Filthy Five”
Thorns FC midfielder Verónica Boquete along with forward Jessica McDonald appeared in ESPN FC analyst Alejandro Moreno’s “Filthy Five” list for their impressive moves in Portland’s 6-3 win against the Boston Breakers on Sunday.
Final two Thorns FC regular-season home matches to be broadcast live on television
Sunday’s match between Portland and the Boston Breakers at Providence Park kicked off a slate of nine NWSL games on the ESPN family of networks this season.
Thorns FC’s home match on Sunday, Aug. 3, against NWSL expansion side Houston Dash, originally scheduled for 2 p.m., will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (Pacific).
Portland plays host to Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Reign FC in the regular-season home finale at Providence Park on Sunday, Aug. 17, on Comcast SportsNet Northwest; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Pacific).
Additionally, Portland’s match on Aug. 17 against Seattle Reign FC will be carried live on ESPN3.
Access to live programming on the ESPN3 channel of WatchESPN.com is available at no additional cost to fans with subscriptions to participating high-speed internet service providers.
Thorns FC open new team store at Providence Park
Thorns FC, in partnership with Gameday Merchandising and Nike, opened a new official team store at Providence Park on April 26, located in the southeast corner of the stadium adjacent to the Providence Sports Care Center. General hours of business for the new Thorns FC store are Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fans can also purchase Thorns gear online here.