National Women's Soccer League

Portland Thorns FC host FC Kansas City to kick off the second half of the NWSL season Friday night at 10 p.m. ET

Portland Thorns FC host FC Kansas City to kick off the second half of the NWSL season Friday night at 10 p.m. ET at Providence Park, following the league’s 12-day break for the group stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Both teams return following the layoff looking to forget the lead up to the hiatus in which the Blues lost their last two games and the Thorns set a franchise record by not recording a win in the past six matches.

The Thorns led just once during that stretch when forward Genoveva Añonma scored in the 18th minute against the Washington Spirit on May 30. But the lead was short lived as Portland conceded twice in the next 10 minutes in a 2-1 loss to the Spirit.

The Thorns responded well defensively in their final game before the World Cup break – shutting out the Houston Dash, with goalkeeper Michelle Betos registering two saves to earn the clean sheet. However, the Thorns offense didn’t fire either in the game as they were held without a goal for the third time in four games in the scoreless draw on June 6.

Portland has taken just two points from their last five games, the lowest haul in the league during that time frame.

Not conceding the first goal will be key for the Thorns, who have yet to win this season when they have allowed their opponent to score the opening goal of the game (0-2-2).

FC Kansas City will also been keen on avoiding picking the ball out of their net first given that FCKC have lost all three games in which they have been scored upon first.

Indeed, the Blues have rallied to tie the score just once out of the four times they have fallen behind this season – tied for the second-worst percentage in the NWSL.

Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s side will be looking to avoid losing three straight regular-season games in a single season for the first time in club history after they dropped their second-consecutive match in a 1-0 away loss to the Boston Breakers on May 30.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made a season-high 10 saves in the loss for FC Kansas City, who were outshot for just the second time this campaign.

Following the match Friday, the Blues will cap off a three-game road trip June 27 against Seattle Reign FC before returning home to face the Spirit on July 3.

Portland will next face Sky Blue FC at home on the same day.


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