Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (5-6-6, 21 points) host Portland Thorns FC (7-3-7, 28 points) at Exploria Stadium tonight at 7 p.m. This is the second and final meeting between the two teams in the 2022 NWSL regular season.
Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Pride are 2-11-2 against the Thorns (2-10-2 in the NWSL regular season and 0-1-0 in the NWSL playoffs). Orlando is 1-4-2 in seven games at home against Portland dating back to 2016. They’ve been outscored 34-14 in all competitions against the Thorns.
The most recent meeting between the two teams was on June 19 in Portland. The Pride trailed 2-0 at the break, but a Sophia Smith second-half brace led the hosts to four more goals, resulting in a 6-0 result. It was the worst loss in the Pride’s seven-year history and the last loss before Orlando went on a seven-game unbeaten run that ended in its last match.
The 2021 NWSL season saw the Pride and Thorns play three times, with the first on May 26 in Orlando. Alex Morgan’s 22nd-minute goal gave the Pride the lead but Simone Charley equalized in the 42nd minute. However, Sydney Leroux gave the Pride the lead back four minutes later, lifting the Pride to a 2-1 win. The second game was on July 18 in Portland. The Thorns took a 2-0 lead after 58 minutes with goals by Smith and Marissa Everett. Marisa Viggiano got one back for the Pride but it wasn’t enough as they fell 2-1.
The final meeting between the two occurred on Aug. 14 at Exploria Stadium. Jodie Taylor gave Orlando the lead after 13 minutes and the Pride maintained that lead late into the game. But Charley found the equalizer in the 78th minute, as it ended in a 1-1 draw.
The two teams didn’t play in 2020, so the most recent meeting before last year was in 2019. They opened the season against each other on April 14 in Orlando. The teams were scoreless at halftime, but the Thorns came out of the break flying. Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath scored inside the first five minutes of the second half, lifting the Thorns to a 2-0 win. They met again in Orlando on May 11. The Pride took the lead in the 10th minute in that game through Toni Pressley but the Thorns responded with three unanswered by Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Andressinha, and Foord to win 3-1.
The lone game between the two in Portland that year occurred on July 14. Hayley Raso and Midge Purce gave Portland a 2-0 lead before Marta got one back for the visitors in the 61st minute. Christine Sinclair made it 3-1 Portland in the 66th minute but an Emily Menges own goal two minutes later made it 3-2. Erin Greening appeared to have gotten the Pride a point when she scored in the 90th minute, but Tyler Lussi scored the winner four minutes into injury time as the Thorns won 4-3.
The two teams played three times in 2018, with two in Portland and one in Orlando. The first game was on April 15 in Portland. The Pride led after 20 minutes through a Chioma Ubogagu goal but Lindsey Horan and Sinclair brought the Thorns back for a 2-1 win. On May 12 in Portland, Morgan and Christine Nairn scored to lead the Pride to a 2-1 result. The final meeting was in Orlando on Aug. 11. Horan and Raso scored early in the second half as the Thorns won 2-0.
The teams met twice in 2017, once in each stadium. They opened the season against each other on April 15 in Portland. Nadia Nadim’s 32nd-minute goal gave the hosts the lead before Sinclair scored in the 67th and the Thorns won 2-0. The return game in Orlando was on Sept. 23, the penultimate game of the season. There was no scoring in this one as the game ended in a scoreless draw.
The 2017 season also featured the Pride’s lone playoff game, which happened to be at Providence Park in Portland. Amandine Henry and Emily Sonnett gave the Thorns a 2-0 lead within 15 minutes before Alanna Kennedy pulled one back in the 23rd minute. But that was the only bright spot for Orlando as Raso and Sinclair added goals in the second half and the Thorns pulled away with a 4-1 win.
The 2016 season was the first in Pride history and their first game was against the Thorns in Portland. The Pride got off to a great start when Steph Carley scored in the 12th minute. But goals by Brynjarsdottir in the 25th minute and Horan in the 82nd minute led the hosts to a 2-1 win. They met a second time on June 26 in Orlando. Jasmyne Spencer scored the opener in the 67th minute but it was another comeback performance by the Thorns as Brynjarsdottir and Horan again led Portland back to a 2-1 win.
The Pride enter this game following a tough 2-1 loss to OL Reign. That loss ended a seven-game unbeaten run and two-game winning streak that lifted the Pride back into the playoff race. The Pride took the lead in that game through Meggie Dougherty Howard in the 37th minute, but second-half goals by Bethany Balcer and Megan Rapinoe — the latter in stoppage time — allowed the visitors to take all three points.
Tonight’s game will show the resolve of the Pride. Despite the loss against OL Reign, the team is only five points behind the Chicago Red Stars for the final playoff spot. With five games remaining, they still have a good chance to claim one of the six playoff positions if they can get back to their winning ways.
Getting back to winning tonight will be difficult as the Pride welcome the Portland Thorns to Exploria Stadium. The Thorns have been the class of the league nearly every year and this year is no different. The Thorns are currently in fourth in the NWSL but only three points behind San Diego Wave FC for first.
The Thorns come into this game with an unusual two-game losing streak, which followed an 11-game unbeaten run. They lost 3-1 to the North Carolina Courage on Aug. 24 and 2-0 to San Diego on Aug. 27.
On the attacking end, the Thorns are led by Smith. The U.S. international has 11 goals this season, tied for second in the NWSL and two goals behind former Orlando striker Morgan. Sinclair is second on the team with five goals this year and Hina Sugita and Morgan Weaver are just behind with four.
The Thorns lead the league with 37 goals scored on the season — four more than the Courage, who have 33. The Pride are currently eighth in the league in goals scored, with 20 on the season.
“(Portland) are a quality team with quality players again, similar to (OL Reign). They are stacked with international players and it is another really good test to see where we are at,” Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said. “There was a lot of disappointment after the (Reign) game, but to go all the way to the final whistle against a good quality team, it shows a lot of growth of how far we have come over the last two months. We expect the same against Portland. We had a week off, but it was a week off without a game and the players have been working extremely hard in preparation for this game.”
The Pride have six players listed as out for this game, including Marta (knee), Viviana Villacorta (ankle), Caitlin Cosme (knee), Chelsee Washington (ankle), Kaylie Collins (wrist), and Erin McLeod (concussion protocol). Additionally, Gunny Jonsdottir (foot) is listed as questionable.
The Thorns don’t have any players out for this game. However, Menges (foot) and Rocky Rodriguez (ankle) are questionable.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.
Defenders: Celia, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Defensive Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Jordyn Listro.
Midfielders: Erika Tymrak, Mikayla Cluff, Kerry Abello.
Forwards: Julie Doyle.
Bench: Kelly Rowswell, Ally Watt, Courtney Petersen, Darian Jenkins, Haley Hanson, Carrie Lawrence, Leah Pruitt, Thais Reiss, Haley Bugeja.
Portland Thorns FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Bella Bixby.
Defenders: Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubly, Natalia Kuikka.
Midfielders: Sam Coffey, Hina Sugita, Olivia Moultrie.
Forwards: Morgan Weaver, Yazmeen Ryan, Sophia Smith.
Bench: Meaghan Nally, Taylor Porter, Marissa Everett, Tegan McGrady, Michelle Vasconcelos, Natalie Beckman, Crystal Dunn, Abby Smith.
REF: Thomas Snyder.
AR1: Ashlee Varnson.
AR2: Kendall McCardell.
4TH: Daniel Gutierrez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!