Thorns FC heads to SoCal for their regular-season finale Sunday at Angel City FC, looking to secure a third NWSL Shield. Watch live on Paramount+; kickoff is 2pm PT.
All the hard work Portland Thorns FC has put in throughout the regular season comes down to Sunday afternoon in the heart of Los Angeles. After 21 regular-season matches played, and a seventh-consecutive playoff berth secured, the NWSL Shield is on the line for the first-place Thorns as they face Angel City FC at BMO Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm PT.
Watch Sunday’s match live on Paramount+.
Also, as part of the NWSL’s expanded match coverage of CarMax NWSL Decision Day, CBS Sports analyst and host Lisa Carlin will host a live whiparound show alongside Sunday’s matches covering goals and highlights from each contest, airing exclusively on CBS Sports Network starting at 2pm PT.
Decision Day Mayhem
With a top-two seed already secured, there is one objective for the Thorns (10-6-5, 35pts) on Sunday – the NWSL Shield, which is awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the best record. A result other than a win in LA, and the Shield out of their hands. Second-place San Diego Wave FC – two points behind Portland – faces Racing Louisville at home.
Facing a must-win scenario and in need of some help, Angel City FC is one of eight clubs still vying for the four remaining playoff berths. They are currently two spots below the sixth and final playoff position, and just two points separates Angel City from as far up as third place.
• STANDINGS: With one game left, here is where everyone stands 📊
Decision Day is upon us, here are stats and facts to know for Sunday:
8 (and counting)
Midfielder Sam Coffey is having an outstanding sophomore season and enters Decision Day in form. With her pinpoint-cross to Hina Sugita last Saturday, Coffey notched her league-leading eighth assist, cementing herself as one of the NWSL's top playmakers in 2023. Her eight goals in a single season ranks second-most in club history, trailing only Tobin Heath’s 10 assists in 2016.
The Thorns have scored a league-best 41 goals during the regular season. What's impressive is how many players have scored specifically five or more goals. With her goal against Gotham FC, Sugita joined three other teammates (Sophia Smith, Morgan Weaver, Crystal Dunn) with five or more goals in 2023. Four players with five or more goals each is the most of any club in the NWSL.
14 in 3
High-scoring affairs. That’s what the Thorns and Angel City matchups have become in 2023. Across all competitions, the two clubs have faced off three times – twice in Challenge Cup, once in the regular season – and have scored a combined 14 goals. Each matchup between the two clubs is averaging more than four goals combined scored per game.
She is the wall between the posts. And with her shutout against Gotham FC, goalkeeper Bella Bixby reached a new milestone with the Thorns, logging 5,000 minutes played. At just 27-years-old, Bixby becomes the second goalkeeper in club history to reach this milestone.