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A look at the 2018 NWSL Runners Up ahead of Chicago’s home opener

CHICAGO – A week removed from facing the reigning National Women’s Soccer League Champions, the Red Stars are tasked with taking on the other 2018 NWSL Championship finalist, the Portland Thorns.

Portland finished with the second-best record in the league last season, winning 12 games and scoring 41 goals. In the latter half of the campaign, the Thorns hit their stride, losing only twice to North Carolina in their final 11 games. On only one other occasion did Portland fail to pick up all three points, a 2-2 draw against the Red Stars at Providence Park.

The Thorns did not acquire a new player in the offseason but are bolstered by the return of midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir. The Icelandic midfielder made her first appearance for the club since 2017 last Saturday in Portland’s 2-0 win over Orlando.

The Thorns have a plethora of international talent apart from Brynjarsdottir, including U.S. WNT regulars Emily Sonnet, Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, with the latter winning the 2018 NWSL MVP Award. Australian Internationals Caitlin Ford and Haley Raso are part of the Thorns’ regular starting lineup, as well as Canadian forward and women’s soccer icon Christine Sinclair, meaning Portland should a playoff contender once again in 2019.

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