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Thorns Host Gotham FC in NWSL Challenge Cup Final

Soccer

The GIST: Before we get into the drama of men’s sports again, it’s time to talk about this weekend’s main event: the NWSL Challenge Cup final.

May 06, 2021
Source: Portland Thorns FC
Source: Portland Thorns FC

The game: It all comes down to this. After four weeks of play, the Portland Thorns will host NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in the second iteration of the Cup. And thanks to loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Oregon, the stadium will host around 3,800 fans, giving the Thorns an extra home-field advantage boost.

  • And for the non-live fans (present!), CBS will air the match in the U.S. and Twitch will stream it live internationally. 

The teams: Both enter the Cup final undefeated, but the Thorns are the stronger squad. In the group qualifying stage, they notched three wins and a draw (aka tie) to win the West division. On the other hand, Gotham FC won two and drew two on their way to the top of the East and haven’t scored since their second match.

  • Portland has the upper hand, especially with legendary players like Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair on the roster. But if Gotham striker Midge Purce, who’s already scored twice, can find the net again, they’ll have a good chance to stun the favorites. 

The off-field dynamics: In other NWSL news, 15-year-old Olivia Moultrie filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league to let her sign a contract. Moultrie, who turned pro at 13, trains with the Thorns, but NWSL rules state players cannot sign contracts until they’re 18 (a rule that doesn’t exist in MLS, BTW). Any chance they can get this sorted by game time Saturday?