On the heels of their first win of the season, the Spirit will hope to keep the momentum rolling at the first-place Portland Thorns on Sunday at 5 p.m.
It will be the second match of a three-game road trip for the Spirit, who topped the Seattle Reign 4-2 on Thursday to remain unbeaten on the road thus far (1-0-1).
If they’re to come away from their West Coast swing with two victories, they’ll have to overcome both the Thorns and their atmosphere, as crowds of 16,479 and 11,055 have packed JELD-WEN field in two previous home games.
Portland will also feature the talented attacking duo of Alex Morgan (three goals, assist) and Christine Sinclair (two goals, assist).
Morgan scored on a penalty kick against the Spirit in a 2-1 Portland win at the Maryland SoccerPlex on May 4, and the Spirit will enter the game knowing what to expect from the Thorns, who are tied with Sky Blue FC atop the NWSL standings but hold first place via goal differential.
“Coming off a performance like we had in Seattle on Thursday, there’s no better way to test ourselves than by taking on the Thorns in Portland,” Spirit head coach Mike Jorden said. “We’re gaining confidence and momentum as the season progresses, and this matchup is another chance to take a step forward against a very good opponent.”
The Spirit will hope for a similar performance to their showing in Seattle, when Diana Matheson, Ali Krieger, Tiffany McCarty and Tori Huster all found the net for the team’s best offensive output of the season, which tied them with the Thorns for the league’s top offense (nine goals scored).
Matheson’s goal and assist vaulted her into the NSWL lead for points (10) and a tie for first in goals (four) with Boston’s Sydney Leroux.
She and the Spirit’s energized attack will look to break down a Portland defense that has allowed just four goals in six matches, while also aiming to shut down Morgan, Sinclair and the rest of the Thorns, who are coming off their first shutout of the year, a 1-0 loss to Sky Blue FC on Thursday.
Sunday’s match can be viewed online below, with kickoff at 5 p.m. EDT: