Matchday Preview, Thorns @ Reign, 7.27.14
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

NWSL Matchday Preview | Seattle Reign FC vs. Portland Thorns FC | July 27, 2014

Date: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
Forecast: Sunny, 81 degrees
Referee: Boris Senic
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Levi Rippy
Fourth Official: Chipalo Street


Thorns FC play the second game of a quick two-game road trip on Sunday, July 27, against Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Reign FC; kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (Pacific).

Portland is unbeaten in six straight matches (2-0-4), having earned at least one point in four straight road matches. Thorns FC and Washington played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night. Forward Alex Morgan gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute, but Spirit forward Jodie Taylor tallied the equalizer in the 68th minute.
Thorns FC are currently in third place in the NWSL table with 30 points as Washington sits in fourth (28) and Chicago is fifth (27). The top four teams make the NWSL playoffs.
Portland and Seattle meet for the second time this season on Sunday. Thorns FC are 3-1-0 all-time against Seattle, including a mark of 2-0-0 on the road.


Portland conceded a goal in the 89th minute goal to the NWSL’s co-leading scorer Kim Little in a 1-0 loss back on May 10 at Providence Park. Thorns FC tallied 18 shots in the match, forcing Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo to make nine saves. Forward Christine Sinclair saw a header cleared off the line in the 47th minute, while forward Jessica McDonald’s shot in the 68th minute was tipped over the crossbar. Seattle earned the game-winning goal in the 89th minute when forward Beverly Goebel was able to cause a turnover in Portland’s own half. Little raced onto the loose ball at the top of the penalty box and the Scottish international dribbled around goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and slotted a shot into the back of the net. Angerer made four saves in the match as Thorns FC held Seattle to five shots on goal.


Seattle Reign FC clinched the first of four berths to the NWSL playoffs with a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars on July 20 at Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium. Forward Beverly Goebel scored in the 70th minute, but Red Stars for- ward 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.


Portland continued its record-breaking ways in a 6-3 victory against the Boston Breakers on July 20. Thorns FC and Boston set a NWSL record for most combined goals in a match (9), breaking the previous record set back on July 13 as Portland and FC Kansas City combined for eight goals at Providence Park. As a team, Portland has set single-season records for goals (37) and assists (27), breaking the previous record of 32 goals and 24 assists set in 2013. Midfielder Verónica Boquete’s six assists this season, set a new Thorns FC single-season record. The previous record was five assists by forward Alex Morgan during the 2013 season. Other notable records set by Portland this season include the fastest goal in NWSL history scored 33 seconds into a match by forward Jessica McDonald on July 17 at Chicago. Back on July 4 against Chicago at Providence Park, McDonald tallied her ninth goal of the season, setting a single-season record for goals, breaking the previous record of eight goals scored by Morgan and Sinclair during the 2013 season. Thorns FC also recorded the largest margin of victory (6) and most goals scored (7) in a 7-1 win against FC Kansas City on July 13.


Thorns FC are 11-4-8 all-time on the road in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Portland has the second-best road record (3-2-5) in the league in 2014, while conceding just 11 goals on the road this season and posting two shutouts.


Thorns FC signed forward Hanna Terry for the remainder of the season on Friday, while defenders Courtney Niemiec and Kat Tarr were placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. Terry, 23, is a former standout at Northeastern University (2011-13), while she was named to the Sweden U-23 Women’s National team roster for the 2013 Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain, from February 28-March 4, 2013. At two-time first team All-Colonial Athletic Conference selection, Terry helped lead the Huskies to a NCAA tournament berth as well as a CAA title in 2013.


Portland has found a spark offensively over the last 10 matches, scoring 27 goals after scoring 10 goals through the first 10 matches of the season. Thorns FC lead the league in goals (37), assists (27), shots (308), shots on goal (142) and corner kicks (128). Portland has scored six or more goals in a match three times this season: June 21 at Washington (6), July 13 against FC Kansas City (7) and July 20 against Boston (6).


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 players have tallied five braces alone this season: McDonald twice (April 26, June 21), Morgan (June 21), Boquete (July 13) and Long (July 13).


Forward Jessica McDonald is tied for the league lead with 11 goals, while midfielder Allie Long ranks fifth (9) and forward Christine Sinclair is among the league leaders with seven goals. Midfielder Verónica Boquete is tied for the NWSL lead in assists (6). Sinclair leads the league in shots (62) and is tied for the lead in shots on goal (31). Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ranks fourth in the NWSL in saves (59).