With the Timbers having the past weekend off, the focus turned to the Thorns and their game at home against the Chicago Red Stars. It would be an interesting matchup since four Thorns starters would be away representing their national teams. Alex Morgan and Rachel Beuhler would be playing for the United States in their friendly against Canada, who would have Christine Sinclair and Karina Leblanc in their squad. All four are key members of the Thorns, and the team would have to find a way to win without them.
As it turned out I don't think the absence of Sinclair and Morgan, by far the two biggest attacking threats on the Thorns, had much of an effect on the result. The Thorns lost 2-0 in a match where Chicago took advantage of their opportunities and the Thorns once again couldn't get organized in midfield. Angie Kerr had some good moments but forwards Meleana Shim and Danielle Foxhoven weren't able to finish them.
Defensively the Thorns may have missed Beuhler's organizational skills as both Chicago goals came from huge defensive lapses. Chicago scored their first goal in the 35th minute. After a Chicago corner kick was headed across the goal area, Zakiya Bywaters was alone at the opposite post to head the ball in. The Thorns completely lost track of her. In the 6ist minute the Red Stars scored a second goal. Lydia Vandenburgh sent a cross from the left side of the penalty area to the opposite side, where Jackie Santacaterina had beaten a defender for an open look at the goal.
Portland, with their national team players back, has a chance to improve their game quickly, as Kansas City is at Jeld-Wen Field Thursday night. KC was their opponent in the first game of the season, and the first in NWSL history. That game finished 1-1 so the Thorns will have a good test on their hands.