The first match of this weekend’s NWSL slate starts on Friday when second-place Portland Thorns host the first-place Washington Spirit at Providence Park. The Spirit sit atop the standings for the second consecutive week and have just one point more than the Thorns with 23 points. A win for Washington would give them a four-point lead over the defending champions. However, a loss puts them two points behind the Thorns. Here is a preview of this week’s marquee matchup, Thorns vs Spirit.
Portland Thorns vs. Washington Spirit Predictions for Friday
New standings alert pic.twitter.com/zjpyiN86J2
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) June 20, 2023
Thorns Current Run of Form
In their last five regular season matches, the Portland Thorns are 3-1-1. The defending champions had gone almost a month without a loss before falling to Orlando on June 11. A 1-1 draw in San Diego was the other only outlier in a five-week stretch where they otherwise had victories against OL Reign and twice against Chicago. Portland also beat Angel City 3-2 in Challenge Cup group play on May 31.
Asking for a friend, anyone else love when Sinc scores?
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) June 18, 2023
Spirit Current Run of Form
The Spirit were the last remaining undefeated team in regular season play before they lost 2-1 to Orlando on May 20. Including the loss to the Pride, Washington has gone 2-1-2 in their last five. A pair of 1-1 draws in back-to-back weeks against Gotham FC and Racing Louisville followed. The Spirit is currently on a two-game win streak after a 2-1 win over Angel City and a 3-2 win in Kansas City against the Current. However, in between those victories was a 2-1 loss to North Carolina on June 14 in the Challenge Cup.
1 – @WashSpirit have won a match in which they trailed by multiple goals for the first time in the team’s @NWSL history (previously W0 D3 L53 in all competitions). Comeback. pic.twitter.com/5nITPQzydh
— OptaJack (@OptaJack) June 19, 2023
Thorns vs Spirit Recent Head to Head
Portland and Washington have yet to meet this season in either the regular season or the Challenge Cup. Their last match was on August 10 of last year. The first goal didn’t come till the 76-minute when Washington took a 1-0 lead on a Bella Bixby own goal. Then Portland’s Christine Sinclair equalized in the 84 minute to make it 1-1. The match was two minutes into added time when Morgan Weaver clinched a Portland win 2-1.
Thorns vs Spirit Prediction
This will be the first NWSL match since the announcement of the United States roster for the upcoming World Cup. A combined six players in the match on Friday will be playing for the USWNT in the World Cup with four in Washington and two in Portland. It’s not clear yet how that would affect Friday’s match, but depth may be a concern before the World Cup break after July 9. Looking at recent form, both teams are fairly even. With that in mind, Portland has the more talented squad on paper and the Spirit have yet to meet them in their 2023 campaign. Therefore, Portland will likely end up victorious and potentially very handily, 3-0.
Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports, of a Christine Sinclair Headshot, on August 10, 2022.