Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)
Forecast: Mostly sunny, 77 degrees
Referee: Chris Spivey
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Gary Gutierrez Fourth Official: Bryan Roslund
Playing the second of consecutive games on the East Coast and the third game as part of a four-game road stretch, Thorns FC square off against the Washington Spirit on Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Portland has now opened its first four seasons in the NWSL unbeaten in its first three games to start the campaign. With a win or a draw on Saturday, Thorns FC will equal their longest unbeaten streak, four games, for a fourth consecutive season.
Heading into Saturday’s match, midfielder Tobin Heath leads the league with four assists, while midfielders Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Lindsey Horan both rank in the top five in goal scored with two goals each.
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LAST MATCH RECAP
Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir tallied the game-winning goal in the 79th minute as Portland registered a 1-0 win on the road against the Boston Breakers on May 1 at Jordan Field. The first win against Boston on the road since 2013, Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath tallied her fourth assist of the campaign delivering a pinpoint free kick into the box for Brynjarsdottir, who delivered a powerful header from close range to put Portland in front in the match. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch helped Thorns FC register their first clean sheet of the 2016 campaign, making four second-half saves, including a key stop on a point-blank header off a corner kick by Boston midfielder McCall Zerobni in the 81st minute of the match.
Saturday’s match marks the ninth meeting all-time during the regular season between Thorns FC and the Spirit. Portland leads the all-time series with a record of 4-1-3 against Washington, including a mark of 2-1-1 in road matches. In addition, Portland has tallied a goal in every match against the Spirit, including multiple goals in sixth of the eight previous games. Midfielder Allie Long has two goals and two assists in seven appearances against Washington.
SCOUTING THE SPIRIT
The Spirit currently sit atop the table with three straight wins to start the 2016 campaign. Washington earned a 3-0 win on the road against the Western New York Flash on Aprll 29. Midfielder Diana Matheson tallied a brace in the win and has a league-best three goals. The Spirit are led by reigning NWSL MVP and U.S. Women’s National forward Crystal Dunn, who led the league with 15 goals in 2015. Washington is 2-0-0 at home this season and posted one of the best records at home (6-1-3) in 2015. Defensively, the team has allowed just one goal this season with experienced U.S. Women’s National team defender Ali Krieger and new goalkeeper and Canadian international Stephanie Labbe guiding the team.