Matchday Preview, Thorns @ Flash, 7.29.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

NWSL Matchday Preview | Western New York Flash vs. Portland Thorns FC | July 29, 2015

MATCH INFORMATION

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Sahlen’s Stadium (Rochester, N.Y.)
Forecast: Partly cloudy, 91 degrees
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Laura Dearman Fourth Official: Steve Montanino
Webstream: Available via www.portlandthornsfc.com

MATCH DAY PREVIEW

Playing their third game in eight days, Portland Thorns FC square off against the Western New York Flash on Wednesday, July 29, at Sahlen’s Stadium; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific).

Portland and Western New York meet for the second time this season, while Wednesday’s meeting in the first of two between the teams at Sahlen’s Stadium. Thorns FC closes out the regular season on the road against the Flash on Sept. 4.

With just seven games remaining on the regular season schedule, Thorns FC are just five points out of the fourth and final playoff spot. Portland plays two of its next three games at home and two of its final three games on the road. With a win on Wednesday, Thorns FC (13pts) would leapfrog the Flash (15pts) in the NWSL table and move within two points of FC Kansas City (18pts) in fourth place.

SCOUTING THE FLASH

The Western New York Flash (4-6-3, 15pts) sit in sixth place in the NWSL standings, coming off a 1-0 loss at home to the Houston Dash on July 25 at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Flash have made several acquisitions post-Women’s World Cup, signing Australia Women’s National forward Michelle Heyman and Colombia Women’s National Team forward Lady Andrade. Heyman started and scored a goal in her first match for the Flash on July 19 against Sky Blue FC. Lady Andrade debuted as a second-half substitute against the Dash on July 25. Aaran Lines’ club boasts a solid home record of 3-2-2, while a total of 11 different players have tallied goals for the Rochester-based club. However, no one player has tallied more than three goals this season as rookies Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams lead the way with three goals and three assists each. Midfielder Becky Edwards is one of six players to start every game for the Flash this season and has recorded two goals and three assists.

AGAINST WESTERN NEW YORK

Portland and Western New York met in the second game of the 2015 regular season on April 18 at Providence Park. Thorns FC prevailed with a 1-0 victory as midfielder Allie Long tallied the game-winning goal on and an assist from midfielder Sinead Farrelly. With the win in April, Thorns FC improved to 2-1-3 in the all-time series against the Flash. The two teams have met twice at Sahlen’s Stadium during the regular season, once in 2013 and once in 2014, and both matches finished in a draw. Wednesday’s match is the first of two visits to Sahlen’s Stadium for Thorns FC last season. Portland has not played a match on the road against the Flash since May 3, 2014.

LATE SEASON GRIND

Thorns FC is amid a stretch of three games in eight days, closes out the end of a two-game road swing on Wednesday. The team returns to the Rose City and face another busy week, playing two games in five days on Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, and finishes another three-game stretch in eight days again with a match against FC Kansas City on Aug. 12, playing a total of six games in 22 days.

LIMITING CHANCES

Portland remains near the top of the league in several defensive categories through the first half of the season. Thorns FC are tied for the third-fewest goals allowed in the league (16) this season, having conceded multiple goals in a match just four times. In addition, Portland has surrendered the fewest shots (126) and shots on goal allowed (62) in the NWSL.

NOTABLE STATS

Portland is 19-2-5 all-time when scoring first in a match, including a record of 2-1-0 this season. Thorns FC are 13-0-5 all-time when leading at the half and 23-6-10 when leading or tied at half. Thorns FC are 17-9-10 all-time when outshooting their opponents in a match. Also, Portland is 11-6-5 when limiting its opponent to single-digit shot attempts in a match. When scoring two or more goals in a match, Portland has a record of 18-1-4 all-time.

MILESTONES

Several players are approaching 50 career NWSL games played: midfielder/defender Kendall Johnson (49), midfielder Mana Shim (49) , forward Christine Sinclair (47) and midfielder Sinead Farrelly (45). Shim would become the second player to reach 50 career games played for Portland, while Johnson would reach 50 NWSL matches played for her career.

Midfielder Kendall Johnson and forward Christine Sinclair both surpassed 4,000 career minutes played in the NWSL against Seattle on July 26. Sinclair became the second player to reach 4,000 minutes for Thorns FC, joining Allie Long. If Long plays at least 67 minutes on Wednesday she will become the first Portland player to reach 5,000 career minutes played for the club.

Long remains tied for first-place in career assists for the club with nine, tied with forward Alex Morgan. She can claim sole possession of first place on the list, while also becoming the first player to record double-digit goals and assists if she registers an assist on Wednesday. In addition, Sinclair (16) sits one goal behind Long (17) on the Thorns FC all-time career scoring list.

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