Three weeks into the season, the Washington Spirit have won each of their three games. For a team that won three games total in 2013, this season is especially good. Yet, the Spirit played three weaker teams (Boston, Sky Blue, and Western New York) and have yet to be tested against a strong opponent. Tonight that will change, as the Spirit face a Portland Thorns FC side that sits just behind them in 2nd place. Washington and Portland are the only two NWSL teams to avoid defeat in 2016.
The Thorns are coached by former Spirit head coach Mark Parsons. Parsons left Washington last fall to coach in Portland but the young coach earned many admirers in his two and a half years at the helm in DC. It will be interesting to see how Parsons adapts his team to a familiar opponent.
Portland has picked up seven points from three games and have similar strengths as the Spirit. The Thorns have a strong front line on paper, but none of their forwards have scored yet. For both teams, their success so far lies in the midfield. USWNT midfielder Tobin Heath leads the league with four assists and was named NWSL Player of the Month by the NWSL Media Association. Veteran Spirit attacker Diana Matheson leads the league with three goals in only two starts. Fourth-year Spirit midfielder Tori Huster has played an instrumental role defensively, particularly against the Flash. The last time the two teams faced, the Spirit tied Portland 3-3 in Portland.
Location: Maryland Soccerplex (Boyds, MD)
Kick-off time: 7:00pm Eastern
Available TV: None
Available streaming: NWSL Soccer, free and non geo-blocked
Treat this as the gamethread for tonight's match.