Washington Spirit vs Portland Thorns Preview: Could statistics determine the winner?

These two teams have met ten times and the Thorns have the edge. Who will be on top on Saturday?

Washington Spirit vs Portland Thorns Preview: Could statistics determine the winner?
Stephanie Labbé makes a diving save earlier this season | Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

The Washington Spirit hosts the Portland Thorns in this Week 10 draw. The Spirit have a bit of an edge coming into this match, hoping to make it three games without a loss, while the Thorns are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Sky Blue FC in Week 9.

Although they have the edge, statistically it will still be an uphill battle as the Spirit has won only one of their ten meetings since the NWSL started.

Just like their last few games, the Spirit will look to score first and hold on to their lead. This season has seen a bit of a struggle to keep a lead when they have it, so scoring first and locking in on the defense will be a major factor for this team.

In Week 9, the Spirit was propelled forward by a Francesca Ordega goal in the 42nd minute against the Chicago Red Stars. Ordega is tied for the most goals on the team with three. The defense was key in this game, holding off the Red Stars until the 82nd minute after Christen Press was given a penalty kick. Stephanie Labbé had three saves.

Against the Thorns, the Spirit will have to break through the Thorns’ strong defense. Adrianna Franch and the Thorns’ defense are tied with the Red Stars for the lowest amount of goals allowed in the first nine games of the season with eight.

The Spirit will hope to have USWNT phenom Mallory Pugh back in the attack after sustaining a minor ankle injury during the international break. They will look to their attackers to lead them and break the Thorns’ barrier. Kristie Mewis, Ordega and Havana Solaun will be the ones to watch in penetrating and scoring against that solid defense.

Thorns looking to bounce back

Meghan Klingenberg looks to keep the Thorns' defense at number 1 | Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

The Thorns suffered their first loss in seven games in Week 9 to Sky Blue at home, but they will be looking to start fresh on the road this week.

Although they have the statistical advantage against the Spirit, outscoring them 23-11, they will have to find a way to keep their league-leading goals against average in tact after allowing the most goals allowed by them in 12 matches.

The Thorns defense will be the key here as they will try and find a way to come back from allowing three goals. Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett and the rest of the back line will look to be a brick wall against Ordega and the rest of the Spirit attack.

Nadia Nadim leads the Thorns in goals this season with four and will be looking to add to her tally against Labbé.

While the Spirit won two of their last three games at home and are unbeaten in their last three games against the Thorns, the Thorns have only lost two games this season.

This will be the first of three times these two teams meet this season and the first of three matches in eight days for the Thorns. The match starts at 7 pm ET on Saturday at the Maryland Soccer Plex.