THORNS RECAP | Portland Thorns FC 2, Washington Spirit 0

Christine Sinclair & Alex Morgan each score; Karina LeBlanc with shutout in 2-0 win over Spirit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Forward duo Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan each scored a goal as Portland Thorns FC defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0 before a crowd of 12,474 at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday afternoon.

Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made three saves, helping guide Thorns FC to their third shutout of the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season. Portland earned its league-leading fifth win in seven matches, registering 14 shots against the Spirit.

Thorns FC (5-1-1, 16pts) found the lead four minutes from halftime as Sinclair tallied her third goal of the season. Midfielder Allie Long collected a loose ball outside the penalty box and delivered a cross to Sinclair on the right edge of the area. Sinclair settled the ball and took two touches to the inside before bending a left-footed shot to the far post for a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute. Long’s assist was her first of the year.

Sinclair nearly added a second goal before halftime after Morgan did well to maintain possession in the box before threading a pass to the Canadian international at the top of the area. Keeping the ball following a challenge, Sinclair pulled her shot wide of the target.

Morgan doubled the Thorns FC lead in the 86th minute with her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Following a Spirit free kick near midfield, second-half substitute Courtney Wetzel intercepted a Robin Gayle pass in the Thorns FC defensive third and quickly sent a through pass ahead to Morgan, splitting two defenders. Morgan reached the ball first, dribbled into the penalty box and slotted a right-footed shot past the goalkeeper.

The goal was the fourth in six games for the U.S. Women’s National Team forward.

Washington goalkeeper Chantel Jones made a game-high six saves, making her NWSL debut for the Spirit (1-3-3, 6pts). Midfielder Diana Matheson and defender Ali Krieger attempted a team-high two shots each as Washington ended its two-game, Pacific Northwest swing with a 1-1-0 record after a 4-2 win against Seattle Reign FC on Thursday.

Despite a good amount of possession, the Spirit were unable to seriously threaten Thorns FC goalkeeper LeBlanc, attempting just three shots on goal. Krieger came closest to scoring for Washington in the 31st minute when she found herself unmarked on the right side of the box. The U.S. Women’s National Team defender fired an effort on goal, forcing LeBlanc to punch the ball over the crossbar.

Making her second consecutive substitute appearance, Thorns FC midfielder Angie Kerr was denied a goal in the 80th minute on a diving stop from Jones. Sinclair dribbled to the end line before cutting a pass back toward the top of the box. A Washington defender deflected the ball to Kerr, who attempted a strong shot in-stride that was saved by Jones.

Sunday’s match was the second of two regular-season meetings between the teams this year. Portland earned a 2-1 road win on May 4 against the Spirit as Morgan and midfielder Nikki Washington recorded goals in the second match of a three-game road trip.

Thorns FC take to the road on Saturday, May 25, against Cascadia-rival Seattle Reign FC at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.; kickoff is 7 p.m. Fans can follow the game live via a web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.

Portland Thorns FC (5-1-1, 16pts) vs. Washington Spirit (1-3-3, 6pts)
May 19, 2013 – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half               1          2          F
WAS                               0          0         0
POR                               1          1          2

Scoring Summary
POR: Sinclair (Long), 41
POR: Morgan (Wetzel), 86

Misconduct Summary
POR: Marshall (Caution), 65
WAS: Gayle (Caution), 82

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall, M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long (Jessica Shufelt, 90), M Meleana Shim (Angie Kerr, 79), M Nikki Washington (Courtney Wetzel, 71), F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan

Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant, M Elizabeth Guess, F Danielle Foxhoven

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Morgan, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Morgan, 3); FOULS: 7 (Marshall, Long, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3

WAS: GK Chantel Jones, D Domenica Hodak, D Tori Huster, D Robyn Gayle, D Ali Krieger, M Julia Roberts, M Lori Lindsey (capt.), M Diana Matheson, M Ingrid Wells (Jasmyne Spencer, 71), F Tiffany McCarty (Caroline Miller, 65), F Stephanie Ochs

Substitutes Not Used: GK Ashlyn Harris, D Candace Chapman, D Kika Toulouse, M Holly King, F Colleen Williams

TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 9 (Gayle, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Andrew Deuker
Fourth Official: Andrew Brooks
Attendance: 12,474
Weather: 57 degrees, partly cloudy
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial