Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride begin their eighth season against the Portland Thorns at Providence Park this afternoon (5 p.m., FOX 35 Plus and Paramount+). This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season, with the return game coming in Orlando on June 11.

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s game.


The Pride have struggled historically against the Thorns, with a record of 2-12-2 in 16 games (2-11-2 in league play and 0-1-0 in the playoffs). Providence Park has been a house of horrors for the Pride, who have claimed points in just one visit and are 1-7-0 in all competitions.

The most recent meeting between the two teams came on Sept. 9, 2022 at Exploria Stadium. Yazmeen Ryan gave the visitors the lead in the 31st minute and Hina Sugita doubled the advantage in the 65th minute as the Thorns won 2-0. That was the second meeting of the season after the teams met on June 19 in Portland. In Seb Hines’ second game as interim head coach, the Thorns smashed the Pride, 6-0.

The teams met earlier in the year during the 2021 season, playing on May 26 in Orlando. The Pride won for only the second time against Portland since the team’s inception. It was the second consecutive game that the Pride won 2-1 after beating the North Carolina Courage four days earlier, and the second straight game in which the goals came from Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.

The second meeting that year came on July 18 in Portland, and the home team won again. Sophia Smith gave the hosts the lead and Marissa Everett doubled the advantage. Marisa Vigginao got one back in second-half stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough as the Thorns won, 2-1.

They met a third time on Aug. 14. The Pride took an early lead when Courtney Petersen found Jodie Taylor for the opening goal in the 13th minute. But Simone Charley equalized in the 78th minute and the teams drew 1-1.

The Pride and Thorns didn’t play in 2020 after the season was canceled due to the global pandemic and they weren’t in the same group for the NWSL Fall Series. As a result, the most recent meeting prior to 2021 was in 2019.

The teams opened the 2019 season against each other in Orlando, but the Thorns got the better of the clash. The game was decided on either side of halftime as Caitlin Foord scored just before the break and Tobin Heath scored four minutes after the restart, lifting their team to a 2-0 win. They met again in Orlando on May 11 and the visitors won again. Toni Pressley gave the Pride an early lead, but it was all Portland after that. Dagny Brynjarsdottir equalized, Andressinha gave Portland the lead, and Foord finished it off.

The final meeting between the two in 2019 was a goal fest in Portland and another Thorns win. Hayley Raso gave the visitors the lead just three minutes into the game and Midge Purce’s goal made it look like it would be a dominant performance by the hosts. But Marta got one back to make it 2-1. Christine Sinclair made it 3-1, followed by a Thorns own goal by Emily Menges. It looked like the Pride would get a rare point through Erin Greening’s 90th-minute goal, but Tyler Lussi in second-half injury time, dooming the Pride to another loss in Oregon.

The teams faced off three times in 2018, which featured the Pride’s lone win in Portland. The Thorns won the first game, 2-1 on April 15. But on May 12, goals by Morgan and Christine Nairn gave the Pride a 2-0 lead. Sinclair got one back for the hosts, but the Pride held on for their only result at Providence Park. The third meeting went back to usual, with the Thorns winning 2-0 through Lindsey Horan and Raso.

The teams started the 2017 season against each other in Portland with the Thorns winning 2-0. They met again in the penultimate game of the season in Orlando, ending in a scoreless draw. The most important game between the two teams was the Pride’s only playoff appearance. Unfortunately, it was all Portland, as they beat the Pride 4-1.

The first meeting of 2016 was the Pride’s first-ever game. Steph Catley gave the visitors a surprising lead, but Brynjarsdottir equalized and Horan won it for Portland. They met again on June 26 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Two second-half goals by Brynjarsdottir and Horan lifted the Thorns to another 2-1 win.

Match Overview

This evening begins a new era of Pride soccer as Hines officially takes over as permanent head coach. It’s a tough task taking on the defending NWSL champions, but an exciting time, as the Pride will welcome back Marta a year to the day after she tore her ACL in North Carolina. The game will also likely see the first competitive Pride appearance for Brazilian international Adriana.

“The mood is great right now,” Hines said about the opening game. “We go back seven weeks, started preseason, looking at what we need to do to improve on what we built last year. And the response from the players has been first class. The attention to detail, their attitude, just their overall game during preseason has been brilliant, and what better way to test themselves against the defending champions, away from home, in front of the hostile crowd. So, you know, they’re all super excited, they’re all raring to go. And, yeah, we just can’t wait for that whistle to blow.”

The Pride went 5-0-0 during the preseason, including 2-0 wins over NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Kansas City Current and a 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit. But those were scrimmages. Tonight it starts for real and against arguably the best team in the league.

The Thorns’ attack is among the most lethal in the world, featuring Sinclair and Smith. That was on display as the Pride conceded eight goals in two games last season, and six in their lone trip to Portland.

As shown by the 6-0 and 2-0 scorelines, they’re strong defensively as well. The Thorns return their back line of Natalia Kuikka, Kelli Hubly, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Meghan Klingenberg in front of starting goalkeeper Bella Bixby.

It’s a different situation than the Pride, who will see several changes in their team from 2022. Pressley, the last player from the team’s inaugural season, departed, as well as starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod and midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir.

The big additions for the Pride this season are Adriana and the return of Marta. Additionally, the team drafted Messiah Bright in the second round out of TCU, and she finished off the preseason with a second-half brace against the Spirit. Hines has used a dual striker setup during preseason, a change from last year, with Bright and Julie Doyle up top. The two combined for the opening goal in the open preseason game against Kansas City.

Hines primarily used a 4-2-3-1 formation last season, but he took over mid-year, eliminating the opportunity to implement his own system. He’s had a full preseason to build his team in 2023, so there could be some changes this year.

Another change this season is the introduction of VAR to the NWSL. The league trialed it during the Pride’s preseason game against Kansas City, but this will be the first time that Pride have had video review during a league game.

The Pride only have one player out for the opening game, but it’s a rather big loss. Versatile defender Carrie Lawrence tore her ACL in February during the team’s training camp in Port St. Lucie, putting her out for the season. That’s the only player unavailable for Hines this evening.

The Thorns have three players listed on their injury report for the evening. Janine Beckie suffered a torn ACL in a preseason game and is out for the season. Tegan McGrady (thigh) is out and Emily Menges (thigh) is listed as questionable.

Projected Lineups

Orlando Pride (4-4-2)

Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.

Defenders: Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Megan Montefusco, Haley McCutcheon.

Midfielders: Adriana, Marta, Jordyn Listro, Erika Tymrak.

Forwards: Julie Doyle, Messiah Bright.

Portland Thorns (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Bella Bixby.

Defenders: Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubly, Natalia Kuikka.

Midfielders: Rocky Rodriguez, Sam Coffey, Morgan Weaver.

Forwards: Christine Sinclair, Sophia Smith, Yazmeen Ryan.


REF: Eric Tattersall.

AR1: Katarzyna Wasiak.

AR2: Melissa Beck.

4TH: Corbyn May.

VAR: Kevin Stott.

AVAR: Kaili Terry.

How to Watch

Match Time: 5 p.m.

Venue: Providence Park — Portland, OR.

TV: Fox 35 Plus.

Streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com (International).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @TheManeLand and the Orlando Pride’s official Twitter feed (@ORLPride).

Enjoy the match. Go Pride!


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