LISLE, Ill. – Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Allie Long registered goals in the opening 35 minutes as Portland Thorns FC earned their fourth consecutive victory with a 2-0 win against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at Benedictine Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill.
Portland’s second shutout of the season, both of which have come against the Red Stars, keeps Thorns FC (4-0-1, 13pts) in first place overall in the National Women’s Soccer League and extends the team’s season-opening unbeaten streak to five games. Against Chicago, Portland recorded a season-high 15 shots, including nine on goal.
Morgan, who finished with a Thorns FC single-game record seven shots, including five on frame, netted her second goal in as many games in the third minute against the Red Stars (0-3-2, 2pts). Collecting a through pass from defender Nikki Marshall, Morgan carried the ball deep into the left side of the penalty box before firing a left-footed effort that beat Chicago goalkeeper Erin McLeod at the near post.
The Thorns FC forward, who has scored a team-high three goals through five matches and leads the league with 14 shots on goal, proved to be a consistent threat throughout the match. Chicago’s McLeod stopped four of Morgan’s five shots on goal, notably saving a close-range effort in the 10th minute and a header in front of goal the 57th minute. McLeod, a Canadian international, finished the game with seven saves.
Portland goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc stopped four shots to record her second clean sheet of the season as Thorns FC wrapped up an undefeated, three-game road trip. Sporadically tested throughout the match, LeBlanc came up with a big save in the 22nd minute, guiding a hard drive from Chicago midfielder Julianne Sitch out for a corner kick.
Long provided a two-goal cushion for Thorns FC in the 35th minute, finishing a cross from midfielder Nikki Washington for her first goal of the season. Streaking down the right flank, Washington delivered a dangerous cross into the penalty box that found Long in stride at the far post. Long placed a right-footed shot past McLeod for a 2-0 lead 10 minutes before halftime. The assist was Washington’s team-leading second of the season.
Thorns FC were denied a third goal just minutes later as forward Christine Sinclair, the league’s Player of the Month in April, unleashed a shot from inside the penalty box that deflected off the underside of the crossbar and onto the goal line before it was cleared away. The referee indicated that the ball did not completely cross the line and motioned for play to continue. Sinclair finished the match with two shots (one on goal).
Sinclair drew a foul, setting up a free kick 20 yards from goal in the 80th minute that provided Thorns FC with another goal-scoring opportunity. Defender Marian Dougherty attempted the free kick after a dummy run from forward Danielle Foxhoven, but the defender’s shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Thorns FC return to the Rose City for the first time since April 21 for back-to-back home games in a four-day span. Portland squares off against Sky Blue FC on Thursday, May 16, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Following Thursday’s match, Thorns FC host the Washington Spirit on Sunday, May 19, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (Pacific).
- Portland’s nine shots in the first half ranks as the most shot attempts in a half for the team this season.
- Thorns FC registered six shots on goal in the first half, tied for the most shots on goal in any half by the team this season, while Portland’s nine shots on goal overall ties the club’s single-game high (both were set against Chicago on April 27).
- Portland attempted a club-record 15 shots on Sunday.
- Forward Alex Morgan has scored a goal in back-to-back games and has registered at least a point in four consecutive matches since April 21.
- Midfielder Nikki Washington has earned at least a point in consecutive matches, scoring a goal on May 4 against the Washington Spirit and earning an assist on Sunday at Chicago.
- Morgan’s goal in the third minute ranks as the quickest goal in Thorns FC history, replacing her 12th-minute tally on May 4 against the Washington Spirit.
- Forward Jessica Shufelt made her Thorns FC and NWSL debut as a 90th-minute substitute for Morgan.
- Thorns FC’s nine goals in five matches ranks first in the league, while the team’s defense is tied for first place (with FC Kansas City) with just three goals conceded.
- Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc’s 0.60 goals-against average ranks first in the league.
- Sunday marked the fourth straight game in which Portland has scored two goals.
- Thorns FC scored multiple goals in the first half for the first time this season on Sunday.
- Portland is one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the league, along with the Boston Breakers.
- Nikki Marshall earned her first career NWSL point on Sunday, assisting on Morgan’s opening goal.
- Allie Long tallied her first career NWSL goal, finishing a cross from Nikki Washington in the 35th minute.
- Thorns FC have used identical starting lineups in consecutive games.
- Portland forward Danielle Foxhoven and midfielder Courtney Wetzel have made substitute appearances in all five of the team’s matches this season.
- Thorns FC wore their white-black-white jersey combination for the second consecutive game, and third match overall.
- Portland and Chicago met for the second time in the last three weeks. Thorns FC previously earned a 2-0 road win at Chicago on April 27.
Portland Thorns FC (4-0-1, 13pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (0-3-2, 2pts)
May 12, 2013 – Benedictine Sports Complex (Lisle, Ill.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 2 0 2
CHI 0 0 0
POR – Morgan (Marshall) 3
POR – Long (Washington) 35
POR – Buehler (caution) 52
CHI – Mautz (caution) 54
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 (Courtney Wetzel, 84), M Nikki Washington (Danielle Foxhoven, 56), F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan (Jessica Shutfelt, 89)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Morgan, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Morgan, 5); FOULS: 4 (Four players tied, 1); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 4
CHI: GK Erin McLeod; D Lydia Vandenbergh, D Taryn Hemmings, D Carmelina Moscato, D Rachel Quon, M Julianne Sitch (Jackie Santacaterina, 46), M Lauren Fowlkes, M Leslie Osborne (Jessica McDonald, 72), M Zakiya Bywaters, M Lori Chalupny, F Ella Masar (Alyssa Mautz, 29)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Taylor Vancil, D Michelle Wenino, M Dinora Garza, F Maribel Dominguez, F Hanna Gilmore
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Two players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 12 (Bywaters, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 7
Referee: Kari Seitz
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Jones, Cesar Ibarra
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka
Weather: 55 degrees, mostly sunny
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial