Riding a four-match unbeaten streak, and four points through the first two games of their road trip, the Orlando Pride (2-2-3, 9 points) make their last stop before coming home. This is the second time this season that Orlando is traveling to Portland, with the Thorns (2-2-3, 9 points) taking the first game, 2-1.
So far, Orlando is undefeated on this three-game road trip. It started out in Chicago where goals from Chioma Ubogagu and Rachel Hill secured a 2-0 win. Then, on Wednesday, Orlando played to a scoreless draw in Utah, improving its away record to 1-2-1.
If Orlando got to choose one opponent to never play, Portland would most likely be that team. The Pride are 0-5-1 all-time against the Thorns, with the lone draw coming near the end of the regular season last year as part of a nine-game unbeaten streak. It was a defensive battle in a 0-0 draw.
The last time these two teams met Christine Nairn connected with Ubogagu to give the Pride an early lead. Ashlyn Harris kept them in the game with a couple of big saves but Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair combined twice in the first half to give Portland a come-from-behind victory and the Thorns remain unbeaten in home openers.
In the six previous meetings, the Pride have only ever scored four goals. Steph Catley scored the first back in 2016 off a free kick and two months later Jasmyne Spencer hit a perfect strike over Michelle Betos. Both of those goals gave Orlando a 1-0 lead but Portland fought hard and won both matches by 2-1 score lines. The third goal was in the playoffs last year. Prior to the Thorns winning the 2017 NWSL Championship, they hosted Orlando. Alanna Kennedy scored off a corner but Portland had no trouble with Orlando, winning 4-1. Chi’s goal this season is the fourth time Orlando found the back of the net against the Thorns.
Both the Orlando Pride and the Thorns are coming off a short week and will want to improve upon midweek draws. While Orlando drew against Utah, as mentioned above, Portland tied Houston, 1-1. Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic scored her first goal of the season for the Thorns and gave Portland an early lead. However, Houston came back when Kyah Simon scored in the 57th minute and the game ended 1-1.
Christine Sinclair is not only the top goal scorer for Portland but also has the highest total in all of the NWSL with four. Two other players in today’s match are just one goal behind Sinclair and could take over the top spot with a brace — Ubogagu and Horan. Sinclair is also the league leader in assists while Orlando’s Nairn is one behind.
After landing on her shoulder on Wednesday, Alex Morgan is listed as questionable with a left should sprain. She could start on the bench as a precaution today and that will help Sermanni with some rotation. Another injury to take note of is that Meghan Klingenberg will miss the match due to personal reasons.
Short week. Away. Against a team the Pride can never beat. Things are not looking good heading into tonight’s match for Orlando. Tom Sermanni will find a balance between rotating players and keeping a similar lineup that has gone unbeaten in the past four games. Maybe when they play each other again in August the Pride will find a way to beat Portland but don’t expect fireworks tonight.
Final Score: 2-1 Thorns.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Forwards: Kristen Edmonds, Alex Morgan, Rachel Hill.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Poliana, Dani Weatherholt, Marta, Chioma Ubogagu, Emily van Egmond, Sydney Leroux.
Portland Thorns (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Britt Eckerstrom.
Defenders: Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, Katherine Reynolds.
Midfielders: Mallory Weber, Lindsey Horan, Andressinha, Margaret Purce,
Forwards: Tobin Heath, Christine Sinclair, Ellie Carpenter.
Bench: Adelaide Gay, Elizabeth Ball, Celeste Boureille, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Kelli Hubly, Tyler Lussi, Ifeoma Onumonu.
REF: Rosendo Mendoza
AR1: Adrienne Mcdonald
AR2: Ryan Jung
4TH: Cj Koll
How to Watch
Match Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.
Streaming: NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.), Lifetime.
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