RECAP: Portland Thorns FC 0, Sky Blue FC 0
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made a season-high seven saves, including two in second-half stoppage time as Portland Thorns FC played to a scoreless draw against Sky Blue FC before 3,002 fans at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J., on Saturday night.
The result helped extend the club’s league-best road record to 4-0-2 this season. Thorns FC (8-2-2, 26pts) are the last remaining club in the eight-team National Women’s Soccer League yet to concede defeat on the road. With the draw, Portland registered its second consecutive shutout, marking the second time this year that Thorns FC have earned back-to-back clean sheets. Thorns FC are unbeaten in three straight games.
Forward Tiffany Weimer, who made her first career NWSL appearance for Thorns FC on Saturday, registered a team-high four shots (3 on goal). Weimer saw a chipped effort to the far post glide just wide in the 19th minute. Forward Alex Morgan attempted three shots, hitting the side netting after rounding Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron in the 17th minute. Thorns FC finished with 10 shots (5 on goal).
LeBlanc put in a productive 90 minutes of work on the defensive end. The Canadian international made four saves in the first half, including a finger-tip reaction save on a close-range header from midfielder Katy Freels in the 25th minute. Off a corner kick, LeBlanc was able to jump and tip the ball over the crossbar, keeping the match level in the early stages.
Sky Blue FC registered 20 shots (7 on goal) in the match as forward Lisa De Vanna attempted a team-high five shots. De Vanna, a speedy Australian striker, sprinted behind the Thorns FC back line numerous times throughout the match. Early in the second half, LeBlanc went to ground quickly in the 60th minute on a De Vanna shot, coming up with a kick save to direct the ball wide of the right post. LeBlanc was up to the task again in the 83rd minute, alertly closing off the lane when De Vanna took a heavy touch inside the box.
Earning her co-league leading sixth shutout of the season (tied with Sky Blue FC’s Cameron), LeBlanc kept Thorns FC in the match during the late stages. Sky Blue FC (8-2-2, 26pts) midfielder Taylor Lytle, who provided the late game-winning goal on May 16 in the first meeting between the two clubs at JELD-WEN Field, ripped a shot from the edge of the penalty box in the 90th minute. Lytle’s effort struck the crossbar and was cleared out of danger by the Thorns FC defense.
Moments later, Lytle played a ball into the box for De Vanna, who was able to redirect the pass to Freels at the top of the box. Freels unleashed a right-footed shot from near the penalty spot that LeBlanc was able to turn wide of the right post with a clutch save.
Less than a minute following Freels’ shot, midfielder Sophie Schmidt delivered a right-footed shot that LeBlanc was able to parry away, but not out of danger. The goalkeeper recovered in time to kick away any chance at a rebound.
Portland’s best scoring chance late in the match came in the 86th minute when Weimer tried her luck from outside the penalty box, but Cameron had a good look at the shot the whole way and came up with the save. Cameron made five saves in the match for Sky Blue FC.
Along with Weimer, defender Casey Ramirez made her first career NWSL appearance for Thorns FC as a substitute for defender Emilee O’Neil. O’Neil made her first professional start on Saturday for Portland.
Thorns FC conclude a two-game road trip on Sunday, June 30, with a match against FC Kansas City at Verizon Wireless Field at Shawnee Mission District Stadium in Overland Park, Kan.; kickoff is 1:10 p.m. (Pacific). Fans can follow the action live through a web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
- Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc’s seven saves set a new season-high mark for Thorns FC.
- Thorns FC have recorded back-to-back shutouts and have not conceded a goal for 189 minutes over the last three games. The 189-minute streak is the club’s second-longest streak without conceding a goal this season (Longest: 225 minutes; May 16-June 1).
- Portland has recorded four of its six shutouts on the road.
- Thorns FC are undefeated through six road games (4-0-2) and have conceded a league-low two goals away from home.
- Defender Kat Williamson is the only Thorns FC player to have played every minute of all 12 games this season (1,080 minutes).
- Saturday’s result marked the first-ever scoreless draw in the NWSL this season.
- Thorns FC wore their white-black-white uniform combination for the fifth time this year.
- Forward Tiffany Weimer made her first career NWSL start and first appearance for Thorns FC on Saturday. Also making her first appearance was defender Casey Ramirez, who entered the match as a 65th-minute sub.
- Defender Emilee O’Neil made her first professional start on Saturday. O’Neil’s other two appearances for Thorns FC were as a substitute.
- Defender Marian Dougherty missed the match while attending her sister’s wedding.
Portland Thorns FC (8-2-2, 26pts) vs. Sky Blue FC (8-2-2, 26pts)
June 22, 2013 – Yurcak Field (Piscataway, N.J.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 0 0 0
SKY 0 0 0
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Emilee O’Neil (Ramirez, 65), D Kathryn Williamson, D Rachel Buehler, D Nikki Marshall; M Angie Kerr, M Courtney Wetzel (Shim, 63); F Tiffany Weimer, F Christine Sinclair (capt.) (Foxhoven, 73), F Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, M Elizabeth Guess, M Nikki Washington, F Jessica Shufelt
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Weimer, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Weimer, 3); FOULS: 10 (Long, Ramirez, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 7
SKY: Brittany Cameron; D Courtney Goodson, D Kendall Johnson, D Christie Rampone (capt.), D Caitlin Foord, M Manya Makoski, M Taylor Lytle, M Katy Freels, M Kelley O’Hara, F Lisa De Vanna, F Danesha Adams (Schmidt, 77)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Ashley Baker, GK Jill Loyden, D Melanie Booth, D Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall, M Nayeli Rangel
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (De Vanna, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (De Vanna, 4); FOULS: 2 (Rampone, Schmidt, 1); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 5
Referee: Kari Seitz
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, TJ Zablocki
Fourth Official: Neil Barbulescu
Weather: 85 degrees, clear
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial