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Thorns Host Gotham FC in 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?

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New York: If it weren’t messy, it wouldn’t be fun

May 06, 2021
Source: Adam Hunger/Reuters
Source: Adam Hunger/Reuters

🏀NBA:Despite the Knicks’ 97–113 loss to the Denver Nuggets last night, they’ve still won 12 of their last 14 games and have clinched at least a spot in the play-in tournament. And while that’s already huge, if the Knicks can stay within the top six, they’ll avoid the play-ins altogether. 

  • Over in Brooklyn, the Nets are headed in the opposite direction after three straight losses, including a pair to the Milwaukee Bucks — who are hot on the Nets’ tail for the East’s second seed. Spare us the stress, and secure that second seed.

⚾️MLB: After losing 4–1 to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets benched starting shortstop Franciso Lindor for their next game, which the Mets won 7–2. The high-profile Lindor hasn’t earned a hit in his last 24 at-bats (the fourth longest of any Met in a decade), which might be part of the reason why the Mets fired hitting coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater on Monday. Interesting.

Over in the Bronx, the Yankees beat the Houston Astros 6–3 in the teams’ second matchup this week. Tuesday’s 7–3 pinstripe win came at the cost of a knee sprain for second baseman Rougned Odor. Womp.

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Philadelphia: They don’t like us, we don’t care

May 06, 2021
Source: Penn State WSOC/Twitter.com
Source: Penn State WSOC/Twitter.com

⚽️Union: The Union and Atlanta United drew 1–1 in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday. Thankfully, the Union’s 3–0 victory in the first leg secured their semifinals spot. But Tuesday’s match didn’t come without some tension (this time, between coaches). Spicy.

  • The semifinals won’t take place until mid-August at the earliest, so for now, we’re just going to keep gloating, er, celebrating

🎓⚽️🏐Nittany Lions: In yesterday’s Round of Sixteen, the Penn State women’s soccer team took an early lead over the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles when Lions midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri scored off Sam Coffey’s beautiful assist. Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long, and the Seminoles powered back to win 3–1. So much heart from these Lions.

  • In usual dominant fashion, PSU is one of only five schools to have both women’s and men’s teams in soccer’s Sweet 16 this year. The men’s team takes the pitch against the Georgetown Hoyas today at noon ET. We Are!
  • On the court, the blue and white men’s volleyball team fell 3–0 to the Lewis Flyers in the Elite 8 on Tuesday; the Lions’ struggling offense couldn’t keep up with the Flyers’ attacks. Sigh. 
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Boston: They did the monster mash

May 06, 2021
Source: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Source: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

🏀Celtics: Nothing like some playoff anxiety to distract from our post-quarantine anxiety. The Celtics helped quell a bit of our stress with last night’s 132–96 win over the Orlando Magic, but the C’s are still sixth in the Eastern Conference with just six games remaining and the threat of the play-in tournament looming. No thanks.

  • Boston faces the Chicago Bulls tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET, but we’ll be glued to Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET battle with the Miami Heat, who are currently seventh and chasing the C’s in the East. Don’t look back.

🏒Bruins: Thanks to Monday’s 3–0 win over the New Jersey Devils, the B’s clinched their fifth consecutive postseason appearance and leapfrogged into third place in the East Division. HYFR. With just four games remaining, they’ll look to pick up more points and playoff momentum tonight at 7 p.m. ET against the already-eliminated NY Rangers.

⚾️Red Sox: The Sox blasted four home runs in Tuesday’s 11–7 win over the Detroit Tigers, but they should’ve saved some for Wednesday as Boston fell 6–5 in extra innings last night. They’ll send ace pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to salvage the series today at 1:10 p.m. ET. Time to bounce back.  

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LA: Nothing like a little friendly competition

May 06, 2021
Source: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Source: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

🏀NBA: The Battle of LA between the Clippers and Lakers tips off tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. And the clash between the Staples Center hallmates might be a first-round playoff preview: the Clips will likely be the third or fourth seed in the Western Conference, while the Lakers hope to secure fifth or sixth.

  • For both sides, health is wealth. The energetic Patrick Beverley, who missed 12 games with a fractured hand, returned on Tuesday to help the Clips end a three-game skid.
  • LeBron won’t play for the Lakers tonight to rest his sore ankle, but the team still has their real secret weapon: singer and superfan Halsey, who returned to NBA Twitter on Monday. Welcome back.

⚾️MLB: Over at the Big A, the 13-16 Angels will host the 17-15 Dodgers in a Freeway Series starting tomorrow at 9:38 p.m. ET/6:38 p.m. PT. It’s early in the season, but despite the big names and big highlights, neither team’s been faring quite so hot lately. 

⚽️MLS: On the pitch, the Galaxy and LAFC will kick off the season’s first edition of El Trafíco on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. A match featuring Galaxy’s electric Chicharito and LAFC’s 2020 Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi? Give us all the goals.