Matchday Preview, Thorns vs. Spirit, 8.30.15
Photo by David Blair

NWSL Matchday Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit | Aug. 30, 2015


Date: Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Forecast: 70 degrees, Chance of Rain
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Joshua Haimes, J.J. Blodgett Fourth Official: Jeremy Riley
National TV: FOX Sports 1
Talent: Mark Rogondino (play-by-play), Aly Wagner (analyst), Danielle Slaton (sideline)


Portland Thorns FC play host to the Washington Spirit in their home finale at Providence Park on Sunday, Aug. 30. Sunday’s match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific).

Following a scoreless draw on Thursday between FC Kansas City and the Spirit, Portland was eliminated from the NWSL playoff race as the Spirit claimed the final spot in the postseason.

Thorns FC will close out the 2015 regular season with their final home match in front of a sellout crowd; the second sellout crowd of the 2015, as 21,144 fans will visit Providence Park on Sunday. Portland has found success at home this season posting the third best home record in the league (5-2-2) in 2015.


Sunday’s match marks the eighth meeting all-time between Thorns FC and the Washington Spirit and the third, and final, meeting of the 2015 regular season between the two clubs. Portland is unbeaten at home against Washington (2-0-1) and leads the all-time series with just one loss against the club (4-1-2) since 2013. In three meetings between the two teams at Providence Park, Thorns FC have outscored the Spirit, 6-2, and have earned a 16-7 advantage in goal scoring in the seven previous meetings. Forward Alex Morgan has tallied five goals in four games against Washington during her Thorns FC career.


Washington visits Portland on the back of a two-game road swing. The Spirit claimed a point on the road and secured a spot in the playoffs behind a scoreless draw at FC Kansas City on Thursday night at Swope Soccer Village. Washington rank near the top of the league in goals scored (27) led by the NWSL’s top goal scorer, Crystal Dunn, who leads the league with 13 goals in 17 games. Midfielder Christine Nairn is Washington’s second-leading goal scorer with five goals and a team-best five assists. Canada Women’s National Team midfielder Diana Matheson has returned to the lineup following the FIFA Women’s World Cup, tallying two goals and two assists in six matches, while Nigerian international Francisca Ordega has two goals and two assists in 10 games this season.


Portland has posted a record of 9-2-3 in their last 14 matches at Providence Park, dating back to 2014. Thorns FC have scored two or more goals in eight of those matches, outscoring their opponents 34-16. Individually, midfielder Allie Long has tallied a goal or an assist in 10 of Thorns FC’s last 14 home matches including a brace in the last home match against the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 9. This season, Long ranks tied for second in the NWSL in goals (9) and tied for fourth in assists (4) and is one of just two players in the league ranked among the top 10 in both goals and assists.


Midfielder Allie Long has continued her impressive goal-scoring pace, register- ing a goal in three of Portland’s last four matches. Long tallied a brace in a 2-1 win against the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 9. The brace was Long’s second of the 2015 season - and the third of her career - bringing her season total to nine goals and four assists. Long ranks tied for second in the NWSL in goals (9) and tied for third in assists (4). She is one of just two players (Kim Little) in the league that ranks in the top five in the league in both goals and assists. Portland is 15- 0-3 all-time when Long scores in a match and 6-0-1 in 2015.


Thorns FC will recognize goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke prior to the match, as each announced their retirement from international and professional soccer at the conclusion of the 2015 NWSL season. Angerer earned 146 international caps and was recently named to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star team. The 2013 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, Angerer started 22 games in her first season with Thorns FC in 2014, ranking fourth in the NWSL in saves (74). In three seasons with Thorns FC, Van Hollebeke has appeared in 44 regular-season matches (38 starts), logging 3,429 minutes. In 2013, Van Hollebeke helped guide Portland to the NWSL Champion- ship and earned NWSL Second XI honors. A veteran member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Van Hollebeke earned 113 international caps, won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and played in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


Portland is 21-2-5 all-time when scoring first in a match, including a record of 4-1-0 this season. Thorns FC are 14-0-5 all-time when leading at the half and 26-6-10 when leading or tied at half. Thorns FC are 19-9-10 all-time when outshooting their opponents in a match. Also, Portland is 12- 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 21-1-4 all-time.


With a start on Sunday, midfielder McCall Zerboni would make her 60th career NWSL start. She would join midfielder Allie Long and defender Kat Williamson as the only other two players on the Thorns FC roster to start 60 career games in the NWSL.

Forward Alex Morgan currently sits in second place with nine career assists for Portland. With an assist on Sunday, Morgan would tie Long for first place all-time and along with Long would be the only other player on Portland’s roster with double-digit career goals and assists. Midfielder Mana Shim needs one more goal this season to reach 10 and she would become the fifth player to reach double-digit goals for her career in a Thorns FC uniform.