NWSL postpones Spirit-Thorns match after COVID-19 outbreak

A view of the Thorns FC logo
Four Spirit players tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, which led the league to postpone their game with the Thorns in Portland. (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

The National Women’s Soccer League postponed the match between the Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns on Saturday night in Oregon after four Spirit players tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s unclear who specifically tested positive for the coronavirus, or if they were vaccinated ahead of time. The league is working to reschedule the match.

“I personally apologize to our fans,” Thorns owner Merritt Paulson tweeted. “We expected one of the biggest Thorns crowds of the season tonight … Frustration level is very high given the facts as I understand them. Will work [with] the NWSL to sort this/prevent similar issues.”

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The Spirit, per The Washington Post, have several unvaccinated players. The team declined to comment on the issue outside of the official league statement.

Players who test positive for the coronavirus in the NWSL must isolate for 10 days and can’t display any symptoms for at least seven days before they can return to physical activity. If team members are exposed to those who test positive, they must follow the same protocols.

The United States is averaging more than 163,000 new cases of the coronavirus each day, per The New York Times, and Oregon is averaging just more than 2,200 each day — a roughly 7% increase over the past two weeks. Roughly 58% of Oregonians are fully vaccinated, and about 53% of Americans are fully vaccinated.