On Saturday, May 12th, the Portland Thorns will welcome the Orlando Pride to their home field for the Lifetime Game of the Week. Both teams will have a quick turnaround as they look to rebound from their draws on Wednesday night.
Portland dominates series
The Pride have yet to beat the Thorns with the overall record being 5-0-1. The first time these two teams met this season was back in April for Portland's home opener. Although Orlando scored first, Portland was able to bounce back and earn the three points for their home crowd. In the series history, it is a common trend for the Pride to get on the board first but then the Thorns are usually able to take the three points in the end. There have only been four Pride players that have been able to score against the Thorns but only half of them remain on their roster.
Now for the Thorns, they clearly have the series. They have only gone one game where they weren't able to convert against the Pride and that was in a 0-0 draw last season. They have seven goal scorers but similar to the Pride, only three of them are available for tomorrows game.
Orlando looks to continue unbeaten streak
As of now, the Pride are on a four game unbeaten streak. The last time they lost this season was against the Thorns. One of the most impressive wins they've had so far has to be against the Chicago Red Stars just last week. The Pride went into the match just after tying Seattle Reign FC and with the knowledge that they have never beaten the Red Stars. With Chicago playing a home stretch of what seemed to be game after game the Pride were able to capitalize on their fatigue and win the game 2-0.
The most impressive player for the Pride this season just might have to be Chioma Ubogagu. She has scored in three of the Pride's seven games so far this season, including their lone goal against Portland. With the absence of Marta early in the season and now the injury to Alex Morgan it was important for Orlando to find someone who could get into the attack and score some goals. Ubogagu has done just that and continues to shine for the Pride.
It will be important for the Pride to capitalize off of Porland's defensive mistakes. Although Portland is usually known for having a solid defense, they seem to be struggling finding that same rhythm and letting silly mistakes cost them goals and points. If the Pride are able to capitalize off of those mistakes then they might just be able to win their first game against Portland.
Portland wants out of winless streak
Similar to how the Pride have gone four straight games without a loss the Thorns have gone four straight games without a win. With Portland being known for being a winning team this is unusual for them. The Thorns has been a team that has struggled a lot with the loss of players due to injuries. They've shown signs of being able to excel without these top players but there are times where you can see the holes where those players are missing.
The most impressive player for the Thorns so far this season has to be Midge Purce. Purce was welcomed to Portland from the Dispersal Draft and waited no time to make an impact for them. Her name hasn't been mentioned as much as it should be because she hasn't been able to tally a goal. Purce has created chance after chance for the Thorns. She has proven to beat just about any defender she has gone against and works back and defends just as good. She will be an important part in this match-up as she beat Carson Pickett just about everytime the last time.
The Thorns midweek matchup against the Houston Dash earlier this week was the worst overall performance from them this season. If they want to get back to their winning ways that have to play much better than what was shown on Wednesday night. Although the Thorns have made defensive errors the biggest thing that isn't clicking for them is their offense. Against Houston, the Thorns had 70% of possession in the first half but were only able to get two shots on goal. The Thorns need to get more forward movement and finish their chances if they want to start winning more games.
This game will be on Lifetime at 3:30pm EST for the Lifetime Game of the Week. You can also stream the game from nwslsoccer.com.