Preview: Portland Thorns (a).
Updated: Jun 19
When? Sunday June 19, 12 noon PT, 3 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. BST.
Where? Providence Park, OR.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on Paramount+ for residents of the United States, and on Twitch for international supporters.
Well, this week's been jolly good fun again, hasn't it? Well. No actually it hasn't at all. Rumours had been swirling around about Amy Turner's future at the club, before news broke on Friday that the club had brought out her contract. Which only added fuel to the fire, in terms of the rumours flying around.
All too often, this club gets mired in controversy, when all you want is for the focus to be on the soccer. And that's where Sen Hines' focus will be; on what's an incredibly difficult game against the Thorns.
So, without further ado let's get stuck in to this vitally important game for the Pride.
I think Portland's strengths are well known to anyone who watches the NWSL on a regular basis, particularly when they play at Providence Park. The Thorns like to play on the front foot and get the ball into their attack quickly by playing between the lines and using the pace of the likes of Sophia Smith to stretch the backline. The evergreen Christine Sinclair serves as a focal point to their lethal attack; the Thorns lead the league in shots on target and goals per match. They're also second in terms of big chances created overall with 13 (figure 1).
The Thorns seem to favour a 3-5-2 this season, which will become a 3-4-3 during attacking moments. You'll often find Smith running the right channel, with the likes of Janine Beckie and Raquel Rodriguez making runs into the box from midfield in support of Christine Sinclair in attack. Even their wingers will tuck in and become that second striker, as you can see in figure 2.
Figure 1 shows Portland's big chance created on the season stats.
Figure 2 is a game still from their game against Houston.
Neither club had made their availability report public at the time of writing (6/18). See below footage for comments from Seb Hines and Abi Kim ahead of the game.
This section will be updated as information becomes available.
Edit 6/20: for Portland Crystal Dunn, Emily Menges, Christine Sinclair and Morgan Weaver are all out. Shelby Hogan is away on international duty.
Orlando are without Marta, Parker Roberts and Sydney Leroux, whilst Carrie Lawrence is questionable.
Possible starting XI
Portland are likely to start off in a 3-5-2 formation, which will shape up a little something like this:
The USWNT forward has been in red hot form so far this season, scoring 6 times and assisting twice in 8 games. Smith is one of the best attackers in the world right now. Her pace and movement make it very difficult for defenders to track her. And she often makes them pay with her clinical finishing.
Portland lie 3rd in the standings with a 3-4-1 record, having won 2 of their last 4 in a recent unbeaten streak.
Orlando, however, lie 8th on a 2-2-4 record. The Pride have lost 3 of their last 4.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com