Portland set for big rivalry matchup with OL Reign; Kickoff is 7:30pm PT from Providence Park.
The Thorns are back at home following a two-week rest and host Cascadia rivals OL Reign on Saturday. Portland will honor their 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup heroes as they have returned to the Rose City following the conclusion of the tournament. Sophia Smith, Crystal Dunn, Christine Sinclair, Hina Sugita, and Rocky Rodriguez will be celebrated for their participation and representation on the world stage.
Portland (2nd, 8-5-5, 29pts) are looking to recover their form heading into the final four matchups of the campaign. In their last five regular-season games, the Thorns have a 1-3-1 record (two home, three away) and have only taken four of a possible 15 points. Luckily for the Rose City faithful, three of the last four games will be at Providence Park. They are just one point shy of first place San Diego, making for a nail-biting end to the NWSL Shield race.
Visiting Cascadia rivals OL Reign (4th, 8-7-3, 27pts) have been suffering the same challenges as the Thorns over their last five matches. Their own record of 1-3-1 over that span has left them grasping onto one of the final playoffs spots but still within reach of teams on the outside-looking-in. They will likely walk into Providence Park with an urgency to secure a result and find safety further up the standings.
Here are some stats to know as Portland host OL Reign and play the first of a three-game homestand:
Portland will have had 14 days of rest in between their last match (Sept. 2) and this Saturday due to the UKG Challenge Cup semis and final. Their opponents – OL Reign – will only have 10 days of rest having last played on Sept. 6, suffering Challenge Cup elimination to the team who had just been victorious over the Thorns in regular season play: Racing Louisville.
If you're planning on being at Providence Park on Saturday (or catching it on a screen), be sure to be tuned in early and through the entire first 45 minutes of action. Portland have scored 20 first-half goals in 18 matches this season – more than any team in the entire league. Morgan Weaver has been the latest Thorn to find the back of the net in the first half, scoring in the sixth minute of action (her sixth of the season) at Louisville two weekends ago.
They're deadliest in the first half, but Portland have found the back of the net no matter which half in 94% of their matches during the 2023 season. The Thorns have delivered multiple goal performances in 10 of 17 games and they have only been shutout once in 18 matches. Portland have been productive throughout the entire season.
In a season filled with international call-ups, injuries, and competition juggling, there are two Thorns who have started every single regular-season match in 2023 – Morgan Weaver and Sam Coffey. The latter continues to light the league up with assists, leading the NWSL with seven.