The Pride will play in a stadium that has been something of a house of horrors for them. 2018 marked the third year in a row that the Pride served as the opponent for Portland's home opener, and they have never won at Providence Park. In fact, the Thorns hold a commanding 5 - 0 - 1 all-time series lead against the Pride, so a victory for the visitors would be a new mark in team history.
Both teams feel like they have work to do on the season, with each side coming into the match with a 2 - 2 - 3 record on the season. The Pride is coming off of an especially frustrating outing against the Utah Royals in the middle of the week. That match saw the Pride produce not a lot of offense, but they emerged with a point in a scoreless draw. The match was costly in another respect: after a late-match collision, Alex Morgan came up favoring her left arm, and she now appears on the league injury report with a sprained shoulder. It seems unlikely that Coach Tom Sermanni would want to risk additional potential injury to one of his superstar players, and the 20-player roster means that it's likely we will see a shakeup from the lineup that the team played on Wednesday night.
Players to Watch
- Christine Sinclair: 4 goals, 3 assists
- Lindsay Horan: 3 goals, 1 assist
- Britt Eckerstrom: 11 saves, 6 goals against
- Chioma Ubogagu: 3 goals
- Christine Nairn: 2 assists
- Ashlyn Harris: 16 saves, 6 goals against, 3 clean sheets
Even though the teams are even on points and record, the Thorns have scored (and allowed) 10 goals on the season, while the Pride has only scored (and allowed) six goals. So one would expect Portland to score and give up two goals per match, while the Pride is averaging barely one goal every game. The defensive side of that scoreline is also significant. The Pride already have 3 clean sheets in the first six matches of the season, while Portland has allowed the opponent to score in every match. Both teams also played midweek and the result of both matches was a road draw.
Lineup and Prediction
I am completely speculating on the lineup, and part of it is just hoping to see players I'd like to see get some more PT based on their potential or their performance.
As for a result, I'm going to predict a 1 - 1 outcome to the match. The Pride has a better defense, but they are giving up more shots and Portland has a better offense so far. A road point is a good result, especially if my guess about the lineup featuring some significant changes from recent games holds true.
What are your thoughts on the match? Do you think the Pride can steal 3 points from Portland? Or do you believe that Providence Park will continue to give our ladies nightmares? And who do you think Tom Sermanni will start for today's match? Let me know in the comments below!