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Watkins: An electric atmosphere in Portland, and a game to match

The NWSL saw some of its best soccer of 2018 today, when post-season contenders (and fierce rivals) Seattle Reign FC traveled to Providence Park in Portland to take on the Thorns. The Reign would leave Portland with the victory, in a wild, 3-2 result that had its fair share of fireworks. Here are three things I took away from the match.

Nothing in the league quite like it

Supporters in Portland have long prided themselves on creating an atmosphere unlike any other in the NWSL, especially during the Cascadia Derby against the Reign, and that special environment played out in interesting ways in the rivalry match on Saturday.

Both Michelle Betos and Allie Long, former Thorns now playing for the Reign in goal and midfield respectively, acknowledged after the game that they had warned their teammates what exactly to expect when playing in front of Portland fans, and in particular in front of the Riveters section.

While it’s difficult to judge product on the field based on what’s happening around it, communication was a factor in many of the defensive breakdowns in the match, and the crowd definitely played a factor into that…

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