Thorns visit Breakers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

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The Portland Thorns FC will try to get a measure of revenge and get back on the winning side of the ledger Sunday when they take on the Boston Breakers in Somerville, Mass.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. PDT. The webstream for this game costs $4.99 to view through www.bostonbreakerssoccer.com.

The Thorns remain second in the National Women’s Soccer League after last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Western New York. With eight wins, four losses and three ties, Portland is four points behind league-leading Sky Blue FC. Boston (5-5-5, 20 points) is fifth in the standings, trailing Western New York by four points in the chase for the fourth playoff spot.

Portland is one point ahead of third-place Kansas City despite a run of four matches without a win. That stretch includes a 2-0 loss to Boston on July 6 at Jeld-Wen Field. Sydney Leroux, along with Western New York’s Abby Wambach the top goal scorer in the league with 10, had both Boston goals on that night.

Breakers forward Lianne Sanderson leads the league with seven assists, and midfielder Heather O’Reilly has three goals and five assists.

Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone said her team is doing a lot of things well, but not finding ways to turn good buildup into goals.

“Keepers are making tremendous plays, defenders are making great plays,” she said. “But also we don’t have that killer instinct right now to put the ball in the back of the net.”

At the other end of the field, the Thorns are the best team in the league. Portland has been scored against only 14 times through 15 matches. Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was the NWSL player of the week for her performance against Western New York on Sunday, which included a penalty-kick save against Wambach.

After the visit to Boston, the Thorns will play three games at Jeld-Wen Field in a span of eight days before closing the regular season with three road games.