BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Nadim expected back for Portland, but Long out for visit to Chicago

The Portland Thorns begin a stretch of three games in eight days on Saturday, visiting the Chicago Red Stars.

The match features two of the top three teams in the National Women's Soccer League standings. Kickoff is 5 p.m. PT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.THORNS PREVIEW

Chicago is second in the NWSL at 8-3-5 (29 points). Portland is 8-4-4 (28).

North Carolina — which beat FC Kansas City 1-0 on Thursday — leads the league with 33 points and at 11-5-0.

The Thorns, who just won three consecutive home matches, will visit KC at 5 p.m. PT Wednesday.

Portland forward Nadia Nadim was expected to meet the team in Chicago after helping Denmark reach the European Championship final. She scored twice in six tournament games. Nadim has four goals for the Thorns this season — three from penalty kicks, including the only goal in an April 29 win over Chicago at Providence Park.

Among those who will not play for Portland at Chicago is midfielder Allie Long, who is said to have an excused absence.

Still out are Tobin Heath (back strain), Meg Morris (hip inflammation), Mana Shim (concussion) and Savannah Jordan (foot). The Thorns hope Heath, who has not played this season, will be available for the playoffs.

Chicago is 6-0-2 at home with six goals allowed.

Christen Press, who is third in the NWSL with eight goals, leads the attack. Sofia Huerta has four goals and four assists.

Portland has goals from nine players this season. Christine Sinclair has four, matching Nadim for the team lead. Lindsey Horan has scored three times.

• Megan Rapinoe, who leads the league with 12 goals this season for Seattle, is expected to miss five weeks. The former University of Portland star underwent arthroscopic surgery this week to repair a torn meniscus in her left knee.

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