Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (0-4-1, 1 point) host the Portland Thorns (1-0-2, 5 points). This is the second of three meetings between Orlando and Portland, with the only meeting in Portland still to come on Sunday, July 14. It is also the start of the World Cup period in the NWSL and every team in the league now has players on international duty.
After beating the Pride 2-0 in the first weekend of the season, Portland is now 7-1-1 in the all-time series. The Pride struggled mightily in that first game under Marc Skinner, and it led to a very heated and unfiltered Ashlyn Harris. Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath connected with each other on both ends of halftime for the goals, but if not for six saves from Harris, the deficit would have been much more.
Orlando has only beaten the Thorns once, and that came last season on May 12. Alex Morgan and Christine Nairn both netted early, and Nairn’s goal was one for the highlight reel. After a failed Portland clearance, Nairn chested the ball down and shot off the half volley from about 30 yards out, and the ball ended up in the back of the net. It was no surprise that Sinclair found the net in this game, two minutes after Nairn’s goal, but the Pride were able to fend off the Thorns to take all three points.
Portland won the other two games last season, and the only additional time that the Pride earned any points against Portland was in a goalless draw at the end of the 2017 season.
This match will be the first of many games that are heavily affected by the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and it is possible that it will benefit the Pride. Orlando will be without starters Ashlyn Harris, Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Shelina Zadorsky tonight. It will obviously be a tough task to replace them, however, the backups have stepped up well already.
Erin Greening and Haley Kopmeyer were like-for-like replacements for Krieger and Harris respectively, and there was no drop off in last week’s game. Zadorsky has done exceptionally well at center back this season, but Toni Pressley is expected to return to action. Morgan is the one genuinely irreplaceable player and her absence up top means that Rachel Hill and Chioma Ubogagu will need to step up, which has yet to happen this season.
As for Portland, the Thorns will be without Adrianna Franch, Heath, Lindsey Horan, Sinclair, and Emily Sonnett. Heath and Sinclair have a history of tormenting the Pride — as they do against most teams — so Orlando will need to take full advantage of them being out. Look for Foord to be the biggest attacking threat in their absence.
The Thorns are coming off a 2-2 draw against Sky Blue FC. Sonnett and Heath scored Portland’s goal, and Franch was forced into making three saves. Sky Blue followed that match with a goalless draw against North Carolina, so the result does not look as bad for Portland.
“I’m sure they’ll be very good, Mark’s [Parsons] assembled a really good squad there, but we have to exploit their weaknesses,” said Skinner. “We have to see a performance and a reaction from the team for a constant amount of time, and that’s what I want because I think that we’ve been sporadic in our performance. If we can see that, I’m sure that we can show Portland just who we are and the fans who we really are because I don’t think we’ve shown it yet.”
Since the opening loss to Portland, the Pride have still yet to put together a convincing performance and, as a result, sit in last place in the league with a game in hand. The Pride played well in the first half against North Carolina and in small spurts last week against Houston, but overall their spot in the standings is indicative of their performances.
Orlando has struggled to get shots off and put just six on frame through five games. Those six shots rank worst in the league and barely half as many as the next highest team, the Washington Spirit. Orlando is also the only team in the league to score just one goal, although three teams have netted two.
Emily Menges (right foot) and Bella Bixby (right hand) are listed as questionable for the Thorns. Sydney Leroux and Kristen Edmonds (left knee) are out for Orlando and Alanna Kennedy (left quad) is questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Haley Kopmeyer.
Defenders: Carson Pickett, Morgan Reid, Toni Pressley, Erin Greening.
Defensive Midfielders: Joanna Boyles, Dani Weatherholt.
Midfielders: Chioma Ubogagu, Emily van Egmond, Marta.
Forwards: Rachel Hill.
Bench: Lainey Burdett, Abby Elinsky, Marisa Viggiano, Camila, Danica Evans, Bridget Callahan.
Portland Thorns (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Britt Eckerstrom.
Defenders: Meghan Klingenberg, Katherine Reynolds, Emily Menges, Ellie Carpenter.
Defensive Midfielders: Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Gabby Seiler.
Midfielders: Andressinha, Celeste Boureille, Ana Crnogorcevic.
Forwards: Caitlin Foord.
Bench: Bella Bixby, Elizabeth Ball, Midge Purce, Angela Salem, Tyler Lussi, Hayley Raso, Kelli Hubly, Mallory Weber.
Ref: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin.
AR1: Kali Smith.
AR2: Matthew Osterhouse.
4th: Jasmine Peralta.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: Yahoo! Sports app (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, NWSL app (international).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!