The Portland Thorns have been full of good news this past week.
On July 26, the Thorns earned a signature regular season victory; having not only beat the Seattle Reign in Seattle for the first time at Memorial Stadium, they notched career win number 50. Besides their championship win in 2013, this one will go down in the record books for becoming the first team in NWSL history to the half century mark in victories.
And the good news keeps on rolling in as the Thorns recently announced that Tobin Heath is returning to the active roster.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 29, 2017
Heath’s activation did come at the expense of fan favorite Mana Shim, however, whom the team had to waive in order to make room on Portland’s stacked roster. We should at least pour one out for Shim’s five seasons here in Portland. Hopefully, her next move will be met with nothing but success. She was one of the original Thorns and a class act.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 28, 2017
It feels ages ago that the wheels on the Thorns’ season seemed a little rickety and in need of severe maintenance. Now, after having won six of their last seven matches, everything seems right again with the Riveters’ world. Now, Heath is set to make a Willis Reed-type return to finish the season.
When exactly Heath will play remains to be seen, but it would be best for everyone involved if she could get a game or two under her belt before the playoffs begin. Sources have said that Heath has already been cleared to practice and it could be within the next few weeks we see her on the pitch for a game.
If I were a betting person looking to break a mild losing streak, my money would be on seeing Heath play in the final two games of the regular season, after the Thorns’ extended break for national team commitments in which Heath may also be expected to participate in some way.
The Thorns take on the Washington Spirit this Saturday at 12:30pm at Providence Park, where the on-field temperatures should be hot enough to cook your Labor Day BBQ. Hopefully, the Thorns can avoid a hangover from last weekend. A win would be crucial for Portland to remain in the driver’s seat as a top two seed in the standings before heading out on a two-game road trip.
And when the Thorns return home for the regular season finale against the Chicago Red Stars on September 30, expect a rousing welcome return for a certain Thorns super-star.