Portland Thorns FC vs Sky Blue FC preview: Playoffs in sight for Portland
Portland Thorns FC vs Sky Blue FC

Portland Thorns FC vs Sky Blue FC preview: Playoffs in sight for Portland

Portland is currently in third place and need three points to stop other teams from closing in.

casey-caprio
Casey Caprio

Portland Thorns FC host Sky Blue FC for a midweek match crucial for Portland to secure a spot in the playoffs. Portland are currently third in the standings with only three games remaining. The Thorns have the easiest schedule of all in the playoff hunt as they face the eighth and ninth place team's, Sky Blue and the Washington Spirit. Both squads are coming off 2-2 draws, Portland’s to the Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue’s to Utah Royals FC. Chicago took an early two-goal lead, but Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair answered back. Katie Johnson had two goals to put Sky Blue up 2-0, but the match ended in a heartbreaking 2-2 draw after Utah equalized in the 94th minute of 93 minutes of stoppage time. The match is set for 11:00 pm ET at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

Key Players for Sky Blue

Katie Johnson was awarded her first ever player of the week honors, after her brace on Saturday. Johnson scored her third and fourth goals of the season which is now a Sky Blue best. Johnson fought for both of her goals, which is encouraging to see despite the team's hopeless season. On her first goal, Jonson was literally being pulled down by her shirt, an action that was surely worthy of a penalty kick had Johnson’s goal not gone in. On her second goal, Johnson took a touch over Rachel Corsie to give her the ball at the top of the 18. She then tried to slip it through to Imani Dorsey, the pass was blocked and fell to Johnson’s feet. Johnson one touched it with her left foot to chip Nicole Barnhart, words do not do it justice of how amazing this goal is.

Johnson celebrating her first goal of the night l Photo: Mike Laawerence/ isiphotos.com
Johnson celebrating her first goal of the night l Photo: Mike Laawerence/ isiphotos.com
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Savannah McCaskill, although a rookie, has proven to be a key part of the offense for Sky Blue. McCaskill has three goals and three assists. She is tied in eighth across the league for chances created at 34. Another solid player has been Sarah Killion, especially as she has taken on a more veteran role being the longest tenured player on the 2018 squad. Killion leads Sky Blue in touches, successful crosses/corners, tackles won, interceptions, and successful passes.

Consistency in Portland

As Portland fights for a playoff spot Lindsey Horan will have to continue to score and be an offensive threat. Horan is tide for second in the Golden Boot race at 11 goals, behind Samantha Kerr at 12 and tied with Lynn Williams. Horan is one of the leagues best in successful passes, shots on target, and dribbles completed. She is first in touches and duels one. Portland’s veteran Christine Sinclair has played 90 minutes in every game and has 33 chances created. She is also tied for a league-best six assists. Her teammate Tobin Heath also has six assists this season.

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