NWSL Matchday Preview | Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC | Apr. 25, 2015


Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex (Lisle, Ill.)
Forecast: Rain, 47 degrees
Referee: Levi Rippy
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, Benjamin Wooten
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka
Webstream: Available via www.portlandthornsfc.com


Portland Thorns FC travel to Lisle, Ill. for their first road match of the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League season against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific).

Thorns FC are 2-0-0 to start the season for the first time in the team’s three year history after registering a 1-0 win over the Western New York Flash on April 18 at Providence Park.

Saturday’s match marks the eighth meeting all-time between Portland and Chicago. The two teams have played to four consecutive draws, including back-to-back, 1-1 ties last season at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex just nine days apart: July 9 and July 17. Thorns FC are 2-1-4 all-time against the Red Stars with a record of 2-0-2 on the road.


Portland extended its home unbeaten streak to seven games with a 1-0 win against the Western New York Flash on April 18 at Providence Park. Midfielder Allie Long tallied the game-winning goal in the 22nd minute of the match. Midfielder Sinead Farrelly lofted a cross into the box for Long, who settled between to Western New York defenders with her back to goal and beat goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo to the ball with a header inside the right post. The assist was the first of Farrelly’s Thorns FC and NWSL career and her second straight match recording a point. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer registered her fifth career clean sheet as she made her first start of the 2015 season in goal, recording a pair of saves.


Thorns FC and the Red Stars played three times during the 2014 season, including a pair of contests at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex. Portland took early leads in the match on both July 9 and July 17 before Chicago tallied late equalizers. On July 9, midfielder Allie Long gave Portland a 1-0 lead through a penalty-kick goal, but Chicago converted a penalty kick in the 86th minute to secure the draw. In the last meeting between the two teams, Thorns FC registered the quickest goal in NWSL history just 33 seconds into the match, but Chicago managed to equalize through midfielder Lori Chalupny in the 76th minute. Portland has allowed just two goals on the road against Chicago in the four previous meetings while scoring six.


The Red Stars opened their 2015 NWSL season on April 18, earning a 3-2, stoppage-time victory against Seattle Reign FC at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex. Forward Christen Press registered a brace, including the game-winning goal in the 91st minute, which earned her NWSL Player of the Week honors. Seattle twice took the lead and both times Chicago equalized before Press netted the game winner. Four of the five goals were scored in the first 35 minutes of the match as forward Jen Hoy also tallied a goal for the Red Stars. Along with Press, Chicago features three other U.S. Women’s National Team players set to appear at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year, defender Julie Johnston, and experienced midfielders Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny. New Zealand international Abby Erceg helps anchor Chicago’s backline, while a pair of rookies are set to play significant minutes this season, forward Sofia Huerta and midfielder Danielle Colaprico. Both started and played 90 minutes in Chicago’s season-opening victory.


The month of April has proved to be a successful one for Thorns FC through the team’s first three seasons in the NWSL. Portland is 6-0-2 all-time during the month of April, dating back to the 2013 season. In eight games, Thorns FC have outscored their opponents 15-5 during the month of April. Defensively, Portland has registered three shutouts and has never surrendered multiple goals in a match in April.


Midfielder Allie Long has gotten off to a fast start in 2015, tallying three goals in the first two matches. Long tallied her second career brace in a 4-1 win against the Boston Breakers to open the campaign on April 11, then tallied the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against Western New York on April 18. It marks the second consecutive season Long has tallied goals in the first two matches of the season. April has been a good month for Long as well as she has scored six goals in eight matches, dating back to 2013.


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 Guinea 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.


Midfielder Allie Long will likely move into sole possession of multiple all-time Thorns FC career leader categories during Saturday’s match. On April 18 against the Western New York Flash, Long moved into a tie for first-place on the all-time career list for appearances (46), minutes played (3,943) and goals (15). Long is tied for first place in career appearances and minutes played with Nikki Marshall and career goals with forward Christine Sinclair. If Long plays 57 minutes or more on Saturday she will become the first player to surpass 4,000 career minutes played for Thorns FC. A goal by either Long or Sinclair moves them into sole possession of first place on Thorns FC’s all-time scoring list. Currently, forward Alex Morgan sits atop the list for career points (37), Long ranks second with 35 points and Sinclair ranks third with 33 points. Sinclair can also become the third Thorns FC player to appear in 45 games for the club on Saturday.