Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (2-4-2, 8 points) travel west to take on the Portland Thorns (3-1-4, 13 points). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season, with the return game scheduled for Sept. 9 at Exploria Stadium.
Here is all you need to know about today’s game.
The Pride are 2-10-2 (2-9-2 in the NWSL regular season and 0-1-0 in the NWSL playoffs) against the Portland Thorns, dating back to 2016, and 1-6-0 away from home. They’ve been outscored 28-14 by today’s opponent in all competitions and 17-9 in Portland.
The Pride and Thorns played three times during the 2021 NWSL regular season. On May 26 in Orlando, Alex Morgan gave the Pride a 22nd-minute lead. Simone Charley equalized in the 42nd minute, but Sydney Leroux got the lead back four minutes later in a 2-1 Pride win. They met for a second time on July 18 in Portland. Sophia Smith and Marissa Everett gave the hosts a 2-0 lead after 58 minutes. Marisa Viggiano got one back in injury time, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride fell 2-1.
The third meeting last year, and the most recent match-up between the two, was on Aug. 14, 2021 at Exploria Stadium. The Pride took an early lead through a Jodie Taylor 13th-minute goal and held onto the lead late into the game. But Charley equalized in the 78th minute, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The teams weren’t matched up in the 2020 Fall Series so the most recent game before last year was in 2019. The first game was the season opener in Orlando on April 14. After a scoreless first half, Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath scored inside the first five minutes of the second half as the Thorns won 2-0. They met in Orlando on May 11. This time the Pride took the lead in the 10th minute through Toni Pressley. However, Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Andressinha answered, and Foord added a second-half goal, lifting the Thorns to a 3-1 win.
The final meeting that year was a high-scoring affair on July 14 in Portland. Hayley Raso and Midge Purce gave the Thorns a 2-0 lead, but Marta pulled one back in the 61st minute. Christine Sinclair extended the Thorns’ lead to 3-1 in the 66th minute, but an Emily Menges own goal two minutes later made it a one-goal game again. Erin Greening equalized in the 90th minute, but the Pride couldn’t see out a late draw as Tyler Lussi scored the winner four minutes into second-half injury time.
The Pride and Thorns played three times in 2018, with the Pride going 1-2-0. The first game was on April 15 in Portland. Chioma Ubogagu gave the Pride a 20th-minute lead, but goals by Lindsey Horan and Sinclair saw the hosts win 2-1. They met again in Portland on May 12. Morgan and Christine Nairn gave the Pride a 2-0 lead in 21 minutes. Sinclair got one back for Portland in the 23rd minute, but the Pride won 2-1. The final meeting that year was on Aug. 11 in Orlando. Early second-half goals by Horan and Raso lifted the Thorns to a 2-0 win.
The Pride and Thorns played two regular season games in 2017. They opened the season at Providence Park in Portland on April 15. Nadia Nadim gave the hosts the lead from the spot in the 32nd minute, and Sinclair doubled the advantage in the 67th minute on the way to a 2-0 win. They met in Orlando on Sept. 23 in the penultimate game of the season but it ended in a scoreless draw.
The teams then met for the third time in the 2017 NWSL playoffs — the most important game in Pride history. Amandine Henry and Emily Sonnett gave the Thorns the lead in Portland inside 15 minutes. Alanna Kennedy got one back in the 23rd minute but that was Orlando’s only goal on the day. Raso and Sinclair added second-half goals as the Thorns won 4-1.
The teams first met in 2016 — the Pride’s inaugural season. In the Pride’s first-ever NWSL game, Steph Catley scored the team’s first goal and provided its first-ever lead in the 12th minute. Brynjarsdottir equalized in the 25th minute and Horan won it for Portland in the 82nd minute. The first game between the teams in Orlando was on June 26. The Pride took a 67th-minute lead through Jasmyne Spencer, but late goals by Brynjarsdottir and Horan allowed the Thorns to leave with a 2-1 win.
The Pride come into this game in disarray. After losing 5-0 to the Houston Dash on June 3, the team played better in Chicago, but still lost 1-0 on a stellar Mallory Pugh goal. Adding to the two-game losing streak is the absence of Head Coach Amanda Cromwell — who remains on administrative leave — and the loss of center back Amy Turner, whose contract was bought out on Friday.
Following the 1-0 loss in Chicago, acting coach Seb Hines and Kylie Strom spoke about the goal being to avoid conceding multiple goals. They felt the team did much better, only conceding a great goal by Pugh.
Today, the team will look to build on that performance and produce on the offensive end. The Pride have now been held scoreless during their past two games, with the team’s most recent goal coming in the 2-2 draw with the Washington Spirit on May 27.
While the Pride are on a two-game losing streak and sit in 11th, the Thorns are their usual selves, currently sitting in third in the league. Today’s hosts are on a four-game undefeated streak (2-0-2). The most recent time out was a commanding 4-0 win over the Dash.
As expected, the Thorns are led by Sophia Smith, who has six goals and two assists in eight games during the regular season. Sinclair is second in scoring for the Thorns with four regular-season goals.
“It would be massive,” Hines said about what a win over Portland would mean to the team. “It would be such a confidence booster. We got a little break after this game, so with everything that’s gone on, it would be just a massive boost for the players, for the club, for the organization. And it will hopefully start that snowball effect of, okay, we’ve got that win away in Portland, which we know is a difficult place.”
The Pride enter this game still missing two key players. Marta (SEI) is out for the season and Sydney Leroux (right ankle) is listed as out after missing last weekend’s game. Additionally, Parker Roberts (right foot) is out for this game and Carrie Lawrence (ribs) is listed as questionable.
The Thorns have a more extensive injury list than the Pride and will be missing some key players, including Crystal Dunn (maternity leave), Emily Menges (right foot), Sinclair (right lower leg), and Morgan Weaver (right thigh). Additionally, Shelby Hogan is on international duty with the U.S. U-23 team.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kerry Abello.
Midfielders: Angharad James, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Abi Kim, Darian Jenkins, Julie Doyle.
Bench: Kaylie Collins, Celia, Kylie Strom, McKayla Cluff, Chelsee Washington, Thais Reiss, Jordyn Listro, Viviana Villacorta, Erika Tymrak.
Portland Thorns (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Bella Bixby.
Defenders: Madison Pogarch, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubli.
Midfielders: Hina Sugita, Samantha Coffey, Rocky Rodriguez, Janine Beckie, Natalia Kuikka.
Forwards: Olivia Moultrie, Sophia Smith.
Bench: Abby Smith, Natalie Beckman, Meaghan Nally, Gabby Provanzano, Marissa Everett, Taylor Porter, Yazmeen Ryan, Hannah Betfort.
REF: Samantha Martinez.
AR1: Kali Smith.
AR2: Melissa Gonzalez.
4TH: Dion Coxe-Trieger.
How to Watch
Match Time: 3 p.m.
Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!