When the final whistle blows in Saturday's match between Sky Blue FC and the Portland Thorns, Portland will be able to fly home, knowing they won't have to fly across the country for another road game the very next week. This match marks the end of the Thorns' 6 game season opening road trip. They'll return to a newly renovated Providence Park which will now hold 25,000 fans, roughly 4,000 more than before. For Sky Blue, this represents an opportunity to earn their first win of the season, and the second in the already roughly one and a quarter seasons under Denise Reddy.
The Portland Thorns will play the final game of their road trip this Saturday. Over the course of this road trip however, they played only one match against a team who reached the playoffs last season, that being the Chicago Red Stars, while the other three, Sky Blue FC (twice), the Washington Spirit, and the Orlando Pride (twice), all finished in the bottom three last season. Despite playing a majority of their games against the league's bottom-dwellers, a 2-2-1 record in five road games so far is nothing to be disappointed in. How they tackle this week's game against Sky Blue will be interesting, are they fully focused on this week's game knowing that they're home opener is next week and they have one eye on that as well as the fact that they'll be missing roughly half of their squad, or will head coach Mark Parsons have them fully focused and have them play better than when they played Sky Blue earlier this season and earned a come from behind 2-2 draw. It will be tough for them moving forward however, as they'll be missing nine players moving forward due to World Cup duty.
QUESTIONABLE: Midge Purce (Right Hip)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Adrianna Franch (USA), Tobin Heath (USA), Lindsey Horan (USA), Christine Sinclair (CAN), Emily Sonnett (USA), Haley Raso (AUS), Caitlin Foord (AUS), Ellie Carpenter (AUS), Andressinha (BRA)
Reddy for a Win
Despite improved performances so far this season, Sky Blue are still yet to earn a win this year. Despite the obvious off the field problems the team have very publicly faced, as well as the fact that the squad has gone through two massive overhauls in the past two offseasons, I would have to imagine Denise Reddy's job is on the line if results don't improve, and quickly. They'll be losing only three players to the World Cup, which is the lowest in the league. despite these three being probably the most important players on the team, this should in theory level the playing field amongst the teams. This weekend's game could see them potentially steal three points. Portland are missing nine players, Sky Blue played arguable their best game when these two teams met earlier this season, and Portland might just be overlooking this game as they look forward to next week's homeopener. This is a prime opportunity for Sky Blue to steal three points, and hopefully for their sake, starts to snowball and they can gain some momentum.
OUT: Mandy Freeman (Right achilles tendon repair), Madison Tiernan (Left ACL/MCL sprain), Caprice Dydasco (right ankle), Julie James (excused absence)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Carli Lloyd (USA), Estelle Johnson (CMR), Kailen Sheridan (CAN)
Sky Blue FC host the Portland Thorns this Saturday, May 25 at 6:00 PM EST. For viewers in the United States, the match will be streamed at this link, as well as on the Yahoo! Sports App. For international viewers, the match will be streamed on nwslsoccer.com.