Tobin Heath will not play in the Portland Thorns’ home opener against the Orlando Pride Sunday.
Heath, who is recovering from ankle surgery, could instead make her season debut on April 20 when the club hosts the Washington Spirit. Heath missed the majority of last season with a back injury and the Thorns don’t want to rush her back from the ankle injury before she is ready.
“She’s doing really well,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said. “I think the game on Sunday might come a bit too soon because we need to see what we need to see. Everything is positive, everything is going well. She’ll train all week with the team. She’ll train all week building up to Washington Spirit on Friday and we hope we can get minutes for her in that game.”
Heath is not the only key player that could miss Sunday’s home opener due to injury.
Thorns defender Emily Menges, who missed the first two games of the 2018 season with a right lower leg stress reaction, remains out. She will not feature in Sunday’s game against Orlando and is likely out for the match against Washington on April 20 as well.
“Menges is going to be a little bit behind Tobin in when we think we can get her on the field,” Parsons said. “Things are going well, no setbacks, but we’ve definitely got to take our time.”
Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan, who suffered an injury while with the U.S. Women’s National Team last week, worked with a trainer at practice Wednesday as the Thorns continued to determine her availability for Sunday’s home opener. Parsons said Horan is dealing with some sort of calf contusion and the club does not yet know if she will be available to play Sunday.
“Lindsey, say 50-50 as of today, but all of the signs are good,” Parsons said. “It’s not what we thought it was at first and we’ll see her on the field more tomorrow. 50-50, but it could have been worse at this point, so we’re feeling positive.”
While the Thorns could be missing some key players Sunday, they will also have an important new face on the field.
Swiss forward Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic arrived in Portland Tuesday night and will participate in her first training session with the Thorns Thursday. Parsons said he “fully expects” Crnogorcevic to be available and to play in Sunday’s home opener.
“Really exciting because she’s a great player and she’s a great person,” Parsons said. “She brings a great mentality to want to take on the world and be the best every day and be the best in front of this crowd at home.”