If the Portland Thorns FC is to host a National Women’s Soccer League semifinal next weekend, it probably needs a win today against the Seattle Reign FC.
Even a victory in the 8 p.m. match at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila might not be enough for Portland to be one of two teams hosting a playoff match. Because of goal differential, Portland needs a better result on Saturday than Western New York, which is hosting Boston earlier in the day.
The Thorns are in the playoffs, but their fate also could hinge on the results of Sunday’s match between Sky Blue FC and the Washington Spirit.
The Thorns will be without forward Alex Morgan for a second full match. Morgan injured her knee early in Portland’s Aug. 7 match at Boston. Morgan has said she hopes to be ready for the playoffs.
This is the last of four matches between the Thorns and the Reign. Portland has won the previous three. But there are some new faces since the teams last clashed on June 16.
For Seattle, Megan Rapinoe has four goals and an assist in 10 matches since returning from France. Goalkeeper Hope Solo has been limited to 13 matches for Seattle, and played only once against Portland. She is expected to start today.
For Portland, Tobin Heath will face Seattle for the first time.
Heath has three assists in seven matches since joining the Thorns at the end of her season in France.
After signing with the Thorns on July 31, Vancouver resident Tina Ellertson played a total of 23 minutes in the road losses at Boston and Western New York.