Portland will return to Toyota Park on Saturday, June 16, to take on the Red Stars in their second match up of the season. The game will be the National Women’s Soccer League’s first match broadcast on ESPNEWS, kicking off at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Here are a couple things to watch out for against the rivaling Thorns:
Portland boasts two of the league’s top goal scorers in current Golden Boot leader Christine Sinclair (6) and Lindsey Horan (4), making up 10 of the Thorns’ 15 goals. In just her third season with the NWSL, Horan has easily become one of the veterans on the team, using her strength in the midfield to earn the most passes in the league while also leading with the most touches per 90 minutes. Adding to the midfield, Tobin Heath finally made her way back to the pitch after offseason ankle surgery left her sidelined for the first three matches. Heath has helped guide the Thorns on the field, while earning the game-equalizing goal in her second game back against Utah Royals FC.
Portland finds themselves barely in the race for the NWSL Playoffs as they sit in fourth place with 15 points. Injuries have plagued the Thorns backline as two key players on defense have been sidelined for several weeks. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch had been struggling at the start of the season, allowing four goals in three games, including a 1-0 loss in the season opener against North Carolina. Franch was then sidelined due to a meniscus tear, resulting in surgery. Back-up goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom took over the backline, but started off on the wrong foot. Eckerstrom went on a 0-2-3 record in her first five matches, allowing eight goals. She earned just two victories against Washington and Utah, but found herself fall 4-1 against front runners North Carolina at home. Adding to the insult, U.S. Women’s National Team defender Emily Sonnett hasn’t seen the field in two weeks due to a back injury.