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NWSL Mid-Week 12 Preview: Thorns look to keep it going

Sky Blue FC (2-6-6) at Portland Thorns FC (6-4-2)
Providence Park
Wednesday, 10 pm EDT
Series:  Sky Blue lead, 2-1-2 (1-0-1 in 2014)

The Thorns righted their ship outscoring the Spirit 8-1 in a home-and-home sweep without the services of regular goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.  Saturday they posted a league-record 6 goals including two from Alex Morgan—two days after doing the same for the U.S.—and two from Jess McDonald in less than 10 minutes of time.  They have struggled with Sky Blue though, dropping a tough 1-0 decision in Portland earlier this season and narrowly escaping with a point in New Jersey when Kelley O’Hara missed a stoppage time penalty.  The Thorns sit 4th on 20 points, but their games in hand on the league actually make them the nearest pursuer to the 1st-place Reign.  Sky Blue has not admitted to being out of it but they need 24 points in their last 10 games just to match last year’s 4th-place total—and this year’s schedule is two games more.

What to watch for:  When last they played, Sophie Schmidt did a fantastic job keeping possession in midfield and redirecting the flow of play down towards the Thorns goal.  Look for her to start in the holding midfield spot again.  When play does reach the Thorns goal it will be manned by Angerer, who blundered on the lone Sky Blue goal last time slumped after that until getting sent off against the Flash.  She’ll be trying to get in a rhythm playing behind Rachel Van Hollebeke and Stephanie Catley.


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