As the Portland Thorns welcomes the Seattle Reign in arguably the biggest game of the NWSL season on Friday, the subject of home field advantage dominates the conversation. A Thorns win over the Reign would see them secure a play-off semi-final at home, and then the potential of a final in front of their fans.
But with their home form anything but rosy this campaign, how much of an advantage would they really gain?
To put into context, the Thorns have lost more games at home this season than in the previous two campaigns combined – with their 5-3-3 record bettered by a 10-1-1 in 2017 and 8-1-1 in 2016.
With Providence Park set to host the NWSL Championship Final on September 22, the view has been that reaching the final would give the Thorns a significant advantage.
If that is the case, then why have they struggled so badly to match the heights of the previous two seasons in front of their home fans? Dropping points against bottom sides Sky Blue and Washington certainly raised eyebrows, while defeats against Orlando, who fell away massively this year, and rivals Seattle, who seem to have the Thorns’ number, will not have gone down well with the Rose City supporters…
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