Portland (6-1-1) and Chicago (0-4-2) will meet on Saturday for the third time this season. Portland has recorded two clean sheets against Chicago and will like their chances to record a third.
This Saturday, Chicago may be at a greater disadvantage in comparison to Portland because a substantial portion of the Chicago back line has been called away for national team duty. Carmelina Moscato, Rachel Quon and Erin McLeod will need to be replaced by defenders that can remain composed on the ball and vigilant of the tenacious Portland midfield. A possible replacement for Moscato as a center back may be the German international, Sonja Fuss. She brings a wealth of experience to the team and could provide great direction to her supporting back line members Lydia Vandenbergh, Michelle Wenino and Taryn Hemmings.
Stepping in for Karina LeBlanc between the posts will likely be Adelaide Gay. She is a proficient keeper from UNC that only conceded four goals in 18 appearances for the team in her senior year. If she is to replace LeBlanc on Saturday, then it will mark her debut for the Thorns.
Determined to give Portland a win up top will be super-sub Danielle Foxhoven. Alongside her it is unclear whether Mana Shim or Jessica Schufelt will start but the stronger option may be Shim. She is fast and tests defenders frequently which frees up space for a player like Foxhoven or Nikki Washington to move into the box.
Chicago may not have found much luck against Portland in the past and even without Rachel Buehler in the back line, the Red Stars will find it difficult to penetrate the defense. Lori Chalupny and Ella Masar are fast with great control and if Jessica McDonald will find herself up top as well then maybe Chicago can etch a lead early on but their job will be marred with obstacles.
In addition to the guard dogs in the midfield -- Washington, Allie Long and Becky Edwards -- Portland packs a terrifying punch along their back line with Marian Dougherty, who is accompanied by Kat Williamson and Nikki Marshall. They are tall defenders that do not shy away from physical interactions with the opposition. The Red Stars may struggle to create clear chances in the box and might depend on Lori Chalupy to unleash a few shots from long range.
Portland Thorns FC Injuries
National Team Duty: Karina LeBlanc, Rachel Buehler, Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan
Chicago Red Stars Injuries
OUT: Shannon Boxx
IN DOUBT: Leslie Osborne
National Team Duty: Carmelina Moscato, Erin McLeod and Rachel Quon
Match Date/Time: Saturday June 1 2013 at 2:00 PM PST or 5:00 pm EST
Venue: JELD-WEN Field, Portland, OR
Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel