RECAP: Portland Thorns FC 1, Seattle Reign FC 0
TUKWILA, Wash. – Forward Christine Sinclair converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute as Portland Thorns FC earned their sixth victory in eight games with a 1-0 road win against Seattle Reign FC before 3,324 fans at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash., on Saturday night.
The shutout, Portland’s fourth of the season and second straight clean sheet, sees Thorns FC (6-1-1, 19pts) remain level on points with Sky Blue FC at the top of the National Women’s Soccer League standings.
Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made five saves, Sinclair attempted a game-high six shots and recorded her fourth goal of the season while Portland upped its season record against Seattle to 2-0-0 and stayed the league’s last remaining unbeaten team on the road (3-0-2).
After conceding nine shots to Seattle (0-7-1, 1pt) during the first half, Thorns FC gained more control of the match in the final 45 minutes while pressing for the go-ahead goal. With seven minutes remaining in regulation, Sinclair chipped a pass to midfielder Allie Long at the top of the box as two Reign FC defenders closed down Long’s shooting lane. At the edge of the area, the referee whistled for a foul and pointed to the penalty spot, providing Thorns FC with an opportunity to grab a late lead.
Sinclair stepped up and fired a low drive to the left side as Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo guessed the wrong direction. Solo, who was making her NWSL debut after missing the first seven games due to a wrist injury, made two saves in the match.
Reign FC came dangerously close to taking the lead in the 62nd minute as Seattle forward Liz Bogus directed a diving header on goal following a free kick. LeBlanc was forced to make a diving save to her right, palming the shot away from goal. Seattle quickly regained possession and forward Teresa Noyola delivered a shot from outside the box toward the left post, but LeBlanc once against came up with the stop.
Not long after, Seattle threatened again as Noyola found space on the left side of the area. Cutting the ball back to her right foot, the Mexican international’s effort from 15-yards out was blocked by defender Kathryn Williamson. Noyola’s rebound was blocked a second time by defender Rachel Buehler, who then blocked Seattle midfielder Keelin Winters’ third attempt before the ball was cleared from danger.
Reign FC nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute as a low shot from Bogus glanced off the outside of the right post and out of bounds.
In a physical match from the outset, Sinclair provided the earliest offensive opportunity for Portland in the 15th minute. Midfielder Meleana Shim played a ball in the air to Sinclair near the top of the box. Sinclair’s volley from 20 yards out flashed just wide of the left post.
Following Saturday’s match, Thorns FC national team allocation players Alex Morgan, Buehler (United States), Sinclair and LeBlanc (Canada) will travel to Toronto to join up with their respective national teams for an international friendly between the United States and Canada on Sunday, June 2, at BMO Field in Toronto.
Thorns FC return the Rose City for three straight home games beginning on Saturday, June 1, against the Chicago Red Stars at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is 2 p.m. (Pacific). Portland plays host to FC Kansas City on June 6 and Seattle Reign FC on June 16 during the homestand. All three matches will be broadcast live on Freedom 970 AM with a high-definition web stream available at www.portlandthornsfc.com. Tickets for the games are available at the JELD-WEN Field box office and online at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
- Sinclair’s 84th-minute goal was the latest game-winning goal in Thorns FC history.
- Sinclair tallied the first game-winning goal after the 75th minute in Thorns FC history on Saturday.
- Midfielder Angie Kerr made her first start for Thorns FC since April 27.
- Sinclair’s six shots was one shy of tying the Thorns FC single-game high for shot attempts.
- LeBlanc has recorded five or more saves in four of the team’s last five games.
- LeBlanc has earned back-to-back shutouts, compiling a 190-minute streak without conceding a goal dating back to a 1-0 loss against Sky Blue FC on May 16.
- Thorns FC were issued a season-high three yellow cards on Saturday.
- Sinclair has scored a goal in back-to-back games for Thorns FC.
- Portland is 6-0-0 when scoring first this season, including 4-0-0 when scoring first on the road.
- Thorns FC are 3-1-0 in games decided by one goal this season.
- Portland is the only remaining team yet to lose on the road during the inaugural NWSL season.
- Thorns FC have yet to concede more than one goal in each of their first eight games.
Portland Thorns FC (6-1-1, 19pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (0-7-1, 1pts)
May 25, 2013 – Starfire Sports Complex (Tukwila, Wash.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 0 1 1
SEA 0 0 0
POR: Sinclair (penalty kick), 84
POR: Edwards (Caution), 30
POR: Morgan (Caution), 38
POR: Dougherty (Caution), 51
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall, M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long, M Meleana Shim (F Danielle Foxhoven, 67), M Angie Kerr (M Courtney Wetzel, 76), F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant, M Elizabeth Guess, F Jessica Shufelt
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Sinclair, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Sinclair, Morgan, Foxhoven, 1); FOULS: 12 (Edwards, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 5
SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Lauren Barnes, D Kristen Meier, D Kaylyn Kyle, D Kiersten Dallstream, M Jessica Fishlock, M Keelin Winters, M Christine Nairn, F Liz Bogus (F Kristina Larsen, 86), F Tiffany Cameron, F Teresa Noyol
Substitutes Not Used: GK Michelle Betos, GK Haley Kopmeyer, D Emily Zurrer, M Elli Reed, M Lyndsey Patterson, F Lindsay Taylor
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Noyola, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Two players tied, 2); FOULS: 9 (Two players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, Ian Johnson
Fourth Official: Ray Moffatte, Jr.
Weather: 61 degrees, partly cloudy
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial