While the Seattle Sounders didn’t start #BeatPortland weekend off on a high note, OL Reign have a chance for some local redemption today. They host the Portland Thorns at 3 PM PT at Lumen Field. The rivalry match will stream exclusively on Twitch (search NWSLOfficial).
Yes, a mid-season match featuring the best rivalry in the NWSL is on Twitch. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The two teams are battling it out in the league standings as well, with Portland one point above the Reign heading into today. The Reign are 4-2-4 (16 points) while Portland is 4-1-5 (17 points) — and the Thorns are 1-0-3 on the road. A win could move the Reign up to 3rd.
This match is being hosted during an important international window, where national teams are playing World Cup qualifying tournaments and UEFA is hosting the Euros. As a result, there will be notable absences on both sides, but fans should still expect an intense battle for all 90 minutes. We hate Portland. They hate us. Doesn’t matter who’s in the starting lineup.
OL Reign had a small COVID outbreak this week, which has made Tziarra King and Nikki Stanton unavailable. That means Ally Watt and Tobin Heath will likely be called upon on the frontline and some rookies may get some action in the midfield in the second half.
What to Watch
- Win the duels: Rivalry matches aren’t always pretty, but there’s one thing you have to do if you want to win: fight for every duel and win the second balls.
- Portland’s formation: Portland has shifted between a 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 formation depending on player availability. A 3-5-2 has limited the Reign’s ability to find Bethany Balcer with crosses. The Thorns will likely go with four in the back due to injuries and absences, but that’s not a guarantee.
- Midfield battle: The midfield trio of Hina Sugita, rookie Sam Coffey (who was named May Rookie of the Month), and Yazmeen Ryan has been effective for Portland during this international break. Can OL Reign’s midfield out-power them?
Injury / Availability Report
OUT: Tziarra King (Covid protocol), Nikki Stanton (Covid protocol)
QUESTIONABLE: Jodi Ulkekul (illness), Claudia Dickey (illness)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Angelina (BRA), Alana Cook (USA), Sofia Huerta (USA), Jordyn Huitema (CAN), Jimena Lopez (MEX), Rose Lavelle (USA), Quinn (CAN), Megan Rapinoe (USA)
OUT: Crystal Dunn (maternity leave), Emily Menges (right foot), Jada Talley (Covid protocol)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Janine Beckie (CAN), Natalia Kuikka (FIN), Rocky Rodriguez (CRC), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Christine Sinclair (CAN), Sophia Smith (USA)
Tobin Heath is on the bench! Gotta say, Olivia Athens and Marley Canales getting the starts is a bit of a surprise.
12’ - :( An unfortunate own goal by Phoebe McClernon puts the Thorns up early.
14’ - Goooooal, Olivia Athens! She scores her first professional goal in her first professional start and levels it for OL Reign.
60’ - Goal, Portland. Hina Sugita is unmarked on a run to the back post and buries Meghan Klingenberg’s cross. 2-1 Thorns at the moment.
81’ - Bethany Balcer equalizes!!!
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, July 10, 3 PM PT
Location: Lumen Field, Seattle
Streaming (US/International): Twitch (search NWSLOfficial)
Join the Discussion
This is your OL Reign versus Portland Thorns gamethread. Join the discussion here in the comments, or follow the action on Twitter: @rovalks.