The Houston Dash return home after a 1-1 draw on their first ever trip to the West Coast in their first ever meeting against NWSL side Angel FC. Unlike the West Coast first ever trip, this home match brings a familiar foe in the Portland Thorns FC. Here is how PTFC stacks up coming in.
Let's start with where are all good teams are judged, their defense. Since surrendering just one goal in its first three games, the Thorns defense has given up six in its last four matches including multiple goals in three of those contests. What may be most concerning for the team meeting Houston to whom they lost 2-0 on May 21st is the fact that last night's 2-2 draw was a result of a defensive collapse. Both opponent's (San Diego) goals came after the 80th minute as PTFC squandered a 2-0 lead. Last night Portland's defense was peppered with 21 shots. Riddled with 56 shots in four games, it's little wonder the defense has given up six goals over that span. Three of the six have come after the hour mark. Another came in the final seconds of first half stoppage time. Enough said.
Moving on to the midfield where games are really won and lost. When you give up six goals in four games, something is not right in the middle of the pitch. Samantha Coffey and Crystal Dunn are going to have to pick up their game. Coffey is one of their most efficient passers and will need to be on top of her game. With a little help from Raquel Rodriguez and Hina Sugita, they could change the outcome of this match.
Offensively, Portland has scored 11 goals. The ageless Canadian wonder Christine SInclair is tied for the team lead in goals with the phenom Sophie Schmidt. Each have four and account for 73% of the team's offense. Although, a great 1-2 punch, if you get nothing from them, you basically lose without a great game from your keeper Bella Bixby.
Portland, sits fourth in the NWSL standings just two points off the pace of second place Houston. It will take a full 90 plus for them to take this match. Whether they do or not remains to be seen.