NWSL Match Preview | Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC | May 24, 2014
Portland closes out its two-game home stand on Saturday with a home match against Sky Blue FC. Saturday’s match is the second of three regular-season games between Thorns FC and Sky Blue FC, as well as the first of two con- tests at Providence Park.
Thorns FC head into the match having won back-to-back contests, including a 2-1 victory in a midweek clash Wednesday against Western New York. Midfielder Allie Long put Thorns FC ahead in the 17th minute with her fourth goal of the season, while forward Jessica McDonald tallied her third game-winning goal of the season in the 49th minute.
Portland and Sky Blue FC played to a 1-1 draw earlier this season at Yurcak Field where Long netted a 75th-minute penalty kick goal after Sky Blue FC was whistled for a handball in the box. Unbeaten in its last three meetings against Sky Blue FC, Portland is 1-1-2 in all competitions heading into Satur- day’s meeting. The last time these two teams met at Providence Park on July 31, 2013, Thorns FC earned a 3-1 victory.
Thorns FC put away Flash at home
Midfielder Allie Long and forward Jessica McDonald each registered a goal and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer matched a season-high with seven saves as Portland Thorns FC earned a 2-1 win against the Western New York Flash in front of 10,920 fans at Providence Park on Wednesday night.
Thorns FC finished with a season-high 20 shots and a club-record 13 corner kicks in the match as the two teams registered 37 shots combined.
Opening the scoring for Portland, Long recorded her fourth goal in seven matches with a tally in the 17th minute as midfielder Angie Kerr logged an assist for a second consecutive game. Kerr, who managed to find space in the middle of the field, turned and slotted a ball to Long streaking across the top of the box. Long finished with a one-touch shot inside the far left post to give Portland an early 1-0 lead.
Thorns FC doubled its advantage just four minutes into the second half as midfielder Amber Brooks delivered a free kick that slipped through the hands of Western New York goalkeeper Kelsey Wys inside the penalty box. McDonald pounced on a loose ball that caromed off defender Kristen Edmonds for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
In a rematch of the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League championship game, Portland extended its all-time unbeaten streak against Western New York to five consecutive matches in all competi- tions (2-0-3) with the win on Wednesday.
Last time versus Sky Blue FC
Long scored in a second straight match, converting a penalty kick in the second half, to help Portland Thorns FC earn a point on the road in a comeback, 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field on April 19. Thorns FC had the better of the chances throughout the match, but Sky Blue FC, playing in their home opener, claimed the lead off a corner kick in the 25th minute on a goal by Christie Rampone. Portland controlled the run of play in the second half and leveled the score in the 75th minute on a penalty kick after a handball in the box. Thorns FC outshot Sky Blue FC, 18-10, and held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. Sky Blue FC had a chance to steal all three points in second-half stoppage time with a penalty kick attempt, but Kelley O’Hara, who had a shot on target saved in the 87th minute, missed the penalty kick wide left.
Scouting Sky Blue FC
In the highest scoring game in the NWSL this season, Sky Blue FC was unable to hold a 3-1 advantage as the Washington Spirit scored two late goals to secure at 3-3 draw in Wednesday’s match at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex. The two teams combined to score five second-half goals as Sky Blue FC, who trailed 1-0 at the half, got goals from forward Jonelle Filigno, midfielder Katy Freels and defender Kelley O’Hara in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Sky Blue FC was unable to claim all three points as midfielder Lori Lindsey’s shot from distance in the 74th minute bounced off a defender and goalkeeper Jill Loyden for a goal, while an extra-time penalty kick was awarded and converted by Spirit midfiedler Diana Matheson.
Head coach Jim Gabarra’s squad is winless in four road matches this season, while having surrendered two or more goals in three of its last four games. Freels has scored a team-leading three goals while O’Hara has a team-best two assists this season for Sky Blue FC. Goalkeepers Brittany Cameron and Loyden have split time in the net this season. Loyden got the nod Wednesday making her first appearance in goal since April 30.
Among league leaders
Thorns FC is currently the only team in the league with two players ranked in the top five in goals. Forward Jessica McDonald is third overall with five goals in seven matches, while midfielder Allie Long is tied for fourth with four goals. Forward Christine Sinclair ranks third overall in shots (27) and shots on goal (14), while goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ranks third among league goalkeepers in goals-against average (0.71) and shutouts (2) and fourth in saves (30). As a team, Portland has conceded just five goals in seven matches, which is tied for the fewest goals allowed in the league. Thorns FC along with the Chicago Red Stars are the only two teams in the league that have not conceded multiple goals in a game this season.
Regular season records
Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Western New York included some noteworthy additions to the team’s regular-season records. Portland’s 20 shots is tied for second- most total shots in a regular-season match in team history, while the club’s 10 shots on goal against the Flash matched a season-high for 2014. Wednesday marked the fifth-ever time Portland has registered 10 or more shots on goal in a regular-season match, all of which have come at Providence Park. Portland’s 13 corner kicks on Wednesday set a new team record for most corner kicks in a regular-season match.