The Portland Thorns will hit the road this weekend to play against the Seattle Reign. The Thorns and the Reign are currently tied for third place with 20 points each.
Recent draw could mean trouble for the Thorns
The Portland Thorns tied with the Sky Blue FC Wednesday night after Sky Blue managed to tie up the game during the second half. This match should have been an easy win for the Thorns since they have had a strong season so far, while Sky Blue has yet to win a game. The Thorns are currently missing their key play-maker Tobin Heath due to injury. As a result, the midfield struggled to connect to the forwards and create good opportunities on goal. At the end of first half, Portland pulled it together enough for Lindsey Horan to score a goal off of a header in the last minute before halftime. In the 57th minute, Hayley Raso replaced Malory Weber in an attempt to create more goal scoring opportunities. Unfortunately for the Thorns, the swap failed to create more shots on goal and Carli Lloyd scored for the Sky Blue in the 77th minute. The Thorns have had lots of adversity amongst their players this season as a result of various injuries to their star players. The frequent variation in their roster makes it difficult for the team to have a solid starting lineup and be consistent in each game. Nevertheless, the team has managed to keep a high standing throughout the season.
Seattle struggles to create opportunities
The Thorns weren’t the only team busy Wednesday night, the Seattle Reign also played a game against the Utah Royals FC at the Rio Tinto Stadium. The match ended with a scoreless draw after both teams failed to follow through with goal scoring opportunities. The Reign has had many ties this season. Although the team is usually successful in creating chances on goal, they often fail to capitalize on their opportunities. The team often relies on Megan Rapinoe’s set pieces to score, rather than scoring while in gameplay. The Reign will need to avoid this habit during their game against the Thorns if they hope to take advantage of all scoring opportunities. The Reign will need to earn either a tie or a win on Saturday if they hope to maintain their 3rd place ranking. A loss would place them in 4th place, below the Thorns and on the bottom tier of the playoff positions.
Who will maintain their ranking?
The last time the teams played each other was in May when Seattle beat the Thorns at home 3-2. This time around, with both teams looking to defend their position in the rankings, the players will come out with ambition and energy. The Thorns are in search of redemption without the Rose City Riveters to cheer them on, while the Reign’s Allie Long hopes to demonstrate her improvement to her former team. Both teams have drastically similar records; the Thorns have a 5-4-5 record, while the Seattle Reign has a 5-3-5. The Thorns have played one more game than the Reign, giving them a small leg up in their records. With such similarly skilled teams, one small foul or mistake could change the course of the whole game. Moreover, fans should expect a very close and tedious game on Saturday. Tune in this Saturday at 10 pm EST on go90 or NWSL.com to see which team will prevail over the other.