The defending league champions make their long-awaited return this Sunday March 26.
The match will be streamed on Paramount+ and will also be broadcast on local television in Portland on FOX 12 PLUS.
After participating in a preseason tournament where Head Coach Mike Norris had the opportunity to field multiple players in three different games, the Portland team is now well-prepared for the upcoming regular season. The team's victories against Louisville and the USWNT U-23's, along with their loss to OL Reign, have provided valuable insights into the Thorns' potential over the coming months, up until the end of the season.
The first game of the 2023 NWSL season will be a momentous occasion, as it marks the end of a long 148-day wait since the Thorns secured their historic third championship victory on a chilly October night in D.C. With a third star proudly emblazoned on the Thorns crest, Portland is determined to defend their title in 2023. Their journey this season commences in the familiar surroundings of Providence Park, as they face the Orlando Pride.
The 2023 Portland Thorns
The Portland Thorns are preparing to defend their title as reigning champions following a successful 2022 season. With the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup and a new season underway, the Thorns have added reinforcements to their squad to continue pushing for success.
In the recent 2023 NWSL Draft, Portland used their four picks of the night to select four players, bolstering their roster. The Thorns nabbed defender Reyna Reyes from the University of Alabama with their first pick (No. 5 overall), along with 2022 second-team All-American forward Izzy D’Aquila from Santa Clara University (No. 12 overall) in the first round. They added forward Lauren DeBeau from Michigan State (No. 24 overall) in the second round and concluded draft night in Philadelphia by selecting goalkeeper Lauren Kozal from Michigan State (No. 32 overall) in the third round.
Additionally, the Thorns re-signed five players, including forwards Hannah Betfort and Michele Vasconcelos, defenders Tegan McGrady and Meaghan Nally, and goalkeeper Shelby Hogan, for the upcoming season and beyond. These signings provide depth and stability to the Thorns' squad as they aim to defend their championship title and strive for further success.
Hungry for a repeat
As the reigning champions of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the Portland Thorns are not content with resting on their laurels. Club legend Christine Sinclair set the bar high when she proclaimed the team's goal of winning a fourth NWSL trophy at the championship rally in November. With the 2023 season kicking off, the Thorns are determined to achieve this ambitious goal.
Despite the potential loss of some national team players, the Thorns have the necessary depth to keep their mission going throughout the summer. The team will have to assert themselves throughout the 18 matches prior to the World Cup, as they aim to continue their reign as NWSL champions. Providence Park's newest championship banner, season-opening TIFO, and the Riveters' support will encourage the Thorns to start their campaign on a high note on Matchday 1.