CHICAGO – Turning right around from a midweek draw in Seattle, the Chicago Red Stars are heading straight to Portland to take on the Thorns in NWSL’s Game of the Week. The match will kick off on Saturday, August 18 at 9:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPNews.
Here are a few things to know before the match:
Home Field Advantage
The Thorns have just four matches left to complete the regular season. Three of their final four games will be played at home, giving the third-place team an extra advantage. Portland is 4-3-2 at home this year, and currently has a three-game undefeated streak heading into Saturday night’s match.
Race for the Golden Boot
Among a tight race for the most goals this season, Thorns’ midfielder Lindsey Horan has the top spot so far with 11 goals. North Carolina’s Lynn Williams and Chicago’s Sam Kerr are close behind with 10 each, while Houston’s Rachel Daly is not out of the race with nine. On the opposite side, Thorns’ captain Christine Sinclair leads the league with six assists, while midfielder Tobin Heath trails behind with five.
Despite holding a third-place spot in the Playoff race with 32 points, Portland has still struggled defensively this season. With a goalkeeping duo of Adriana Franch and Britt Eckerstrom, the two has only combined for four clean sheets in 2018. The backline has only conceded 24 goals, enough for fifth-best in the league. But Portland has gotten caught multiple times in the box, allowing three of the 24 goals from the penalty spot, the most of any team this season.