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Match Preview: Portland Thorns take on the first place Washington Spirit
The race to the top of the table is a close one.
This is the first matchup between the two teams this season. It’ll be a close one as both teams sit at the top of the table: Washington and no. 1 and Portland at no. 2.
The game will be at home in Providence Park on Friday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. PT
Ahead of the game, the Thorns will honor Crystal Dunn and Sophia Smith as they head to the World Cup next month.
The Spirit currently have a 6-1-5 record, their lone loss coming from Orlando early in the season. They currently are on a two-match win streak over Kansas City and Angel City.
And I mean, you can’t talk about the Washington Spirit without talking about Trinity Rodman, Ashely Hatch, Aubrey Kingsbury, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, and Sam Staab.
This game will be a close one for sure, the Spirit have both attacking prowess in the form of Rodman, Hatch, and Sanchez and defensive strength in the form of Kingsbury, Staab, and Sullivan.
Rodman can take on numerous defenders at once (example: here) making her a challenge for any backline, especially with the loss of Becky Sauerbrunn. Emily Menges or Kelli Hubly will have to be ready step up.
The State of the Thorns
Portland is currently sitting at 6-2-4, and recently bounced back with a win over Chicago. They’ve won three out of their last five league games, with a draw at San Diego and a loss in Orlando.
This will be the last game with the complete squad before players head out for the World Cup. Becky Sauerbrunn is officially out for the WC, meaning her recovery is going to take a while.
Other than the WC coming up, this game will be largely normal.
I think that this game could go a few ways depending on how the Thorns start. If Portland has a quick start and gets on the board early, as well as if they can hold on to the lead, they’ll hopefully come out with three points.
If recent trends continue, however, and Portland goes down a goal or lets the Spirit come from behind (which they did recently with Kansas City), then I don’t see the Thorns pulling through.
I’m going to predict a 1-0 victory for Portland, with the goal coming from Sophia Smith. We’ll see though tonight.
Goalie- Bixby (duh)
Backline- Kiukka, Hubly, Menges, and Klingenberg
Midfield- Coffey, Dunn, and Sinclair (though I’d love to see Moultrie start)
Up front- Smith, Weaver, and Sugita
Backline- Staab, Carle, McKeown, Bailey
Midfield- Jaurena, Metayer, Sullivan,
Up front- Sanchez, Rodman, Hatch