Matchday preview, Thorns vs. WNY, 4.18.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Western New York Flash | Apr. 18, 2015


Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.) Forecast: 72 degrees, Sunny
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Jason Perlewitz Fourth Official: Ekaterina Koroleva
Webstream: Available via


Portland Thorns FC plays the second game of a two-match home stand Saturday against the Western New York Flash at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific).

Thorns FC registered a 4-1 win against the Boston Breakers to open the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League campaign on April 11 at Providence Park, receiving goals from midfielders Sinead Farrelly, Mana Shim and a brace from Allie Long.

Saturday’s match marks the sixth regular-season meeting between Western New York and Portland. In the five previous regular-season meetings, Thorns FC have suffered just one defeat and recorded a 2-1 victory against the Flash on May 21, 2014. In that match, Long tallied the opening goal, while current Thorns FC midfielder McCall Zerboni recorded Western New York’s lone goal.


The Flash suffered a 5-1 loss against Seattle Reign FC on April 12 at Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium in Seattle as midfielder Jordan Angeli scored Western New York’s lone in the match, while No. 21 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft, goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, made her NWSL debut. Just three players from 2014 return for the Flash in defenders Brittany Taylor and Kristen Edmonds and forward Jasmyne Spencer. Western New York’s roster features four 2015 first-round NWSL College Draft picks: midfielders Abby Dahlkemper and Sam Mewis, forward Lynn Williams and defender Jaelene Hinkle. A late blockbuster trade helped the Flash acquire U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux, while earlier in the offseason Western New York made a trade that sent U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Carli Lloyd to Houston and brought U.S. Women’s National Team defender Whitney Engen and experienced midfielder Becky Edwards back to Rochester.


Portland opened the regular season at Providence Park for the first time in the team’s three-year history on April 11, receiving goals from midfielders Sinead Farrelly, Mana Shim and a brace from Allie Long. Farrelly scored the opening goal in the 21st minute, her first career goal for Thorns FC and the second of her NWSL career in the match. Shim tallied the eventual game winner in the 38th minute and added a pair of assists becoming the fifth player in Thorns FC history to record a multi-assist game. Long tallied her goals just one minute, 14 seconds apart in the 71st and 72nd minute for her second career brace and the ninth multi-goal game in club history. Midfielders McCall Zerboni, Kendall Johnson and Sarah Robbins and forward Jodie Taylor all made their Thorns FC debut in the match. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos earned her third career start for Thorns FC and recorded six saves in the win.


Thorns FC enter Saturday’s match unbeaten in their last six home matches (5-0-1), dating back to the 2014 regular season. During this six match stretch, Portland has outscored its opponents 21-6, and has scored two or more goals in four of those six matches. Individually, midfielder Allie Long has tallied five goals in those six matches, including a pair of braces.


Thorns FC has a deep and experienced roster that features 11 players with national team experience, including U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan, midfielders Tobin Heath and Allie Long and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke; Canada Women’s National Team forward Christine Sinclair, midfielder Kaylyn Kyle and defender Rhian Wilkinson; England Women’s National Team forward Jodie Taylor, Germany Women’s National Team goalkeeper Nadine Angerer; Australia National Team defender Steph Catley and newly acquired Equatorial National Team forward Ayo Añonma. Eight of those players have competed with their respective national teams at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The group combined has more than 980 international caps and 256 international goals. Angerer, Van Hollebeke, Sinclair and Wilkinson all have more than 100 international caps.


Defender Alyssa Kleiner was added to the 20-player roster as an amateur player for Saturday’s match against the Western New York Flash. Playing at Santa Clara Univ. from 2011-14, Kleiner helped guide the Broncos to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2013 as well as the program’s 10th West Coast Conference (WCC) championship as a junior. Kleiner appeared in 77 games during her career at Santa Clara, recording three assists during the 2013 campaign.


Midfielder Allie Long played in her 45th career match for Thorns FC on April 11 and is now just one game behind defender Nikki Marshall (46) on the all-time career list for appearances. In addition, Long moved into second place on the all-time career list in games started (43) and minutes played (3,853) and is tied for second in points (33) and goals (14). After registering two assists on April 11, Shim moved into a tie for second place on the all-time career assists list (6). Forward Alex Morgan is one career assist shy of becoming the first Thorns FC player in team history to reach double-digits in goals and assists.


Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Tobin Heath were named to the 23-player U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada on Tuesday. This is Morgan’s second appearance on a FIFA Women’s World Cup roster. Morgan was one of two U.S. Women’s National Team players, along with Abby Wambach, to score in both the 2011 FIFA World Cup semifinal and championship match. Against France in the semifinal on July 13, Morgan scored the clinching goal in a 3-1 victory, while she scored the opening goal and tallied an assist in a dramatic penalty-kick loss against Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on July 17. Appearing in her second FIFA Women’s World Cup, Heath appeared in four matches as a substitute at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final in her first World Cup at the senior national team level.