CHICAGO – The Red Stars will host Portland Thorns FC in Chicago’s 2018 home opener this Saturday, March 31, following the MLS-side Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers match at Toyota Park. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on the NWSL app and go90 app.
Portland, the 2017 NWSL Champions, were defeated last week as North Carolina Courage found a second-half goal to claim the win. North Carolina’s Debinha tallied the only goal of the match in the 70th minute.
Portland will look a bit different this season, as the roster lost some familiar names and gained fresh faces.
The Thorns will have a veteran backline in front of 2017 Goalkeeper of the Year Adrianna Franch as Emily Sonnett, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges and Katherine Reynold return. The midfield will be led by U.S. Women’s National Team member Lindsey Horan, while Canadian Christine Sinclair, who netted eight goals in 2017, leads the attack.
From last season, the Thorns will be without Allie Long after a trade to Seattle and Nadia Nadim (6 goals) after signing with Manchester City in England. For the start of the season, Portland will also be missing U.S. WNT midfielder Tobin Heath due to injury recovery, while Hayler Raso (6 goals) and newcomers Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter will be away with the Australian National Team for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying until mid-April.
Chicago has lost the last three matches against Portland with a 7-3 score deficit. Despite the score, of Portland’s seven goals, five were scored by players either no longer on the team or on international duty this week (Nadim, Raso, Sykes).
During the offseason, Chicago defeated Portland 1-0 during the Thorns Spring Invitational. Red Stars defender Arin Gilliland scored the lone goal in the 62nd minute of the match.
After the international FIFA break, the Red Stars will pick the season back up on Saturday, April 14, in Rio Tinto Stadium when they visit the newest club to the league, Utah Royals FC, for the Lifetime Game of the Week. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast live on Lifetime, the NWSL app and the go90 app.