HOUSTON, Tex. – Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made a season-high seven saves, including a key stop on a second-half penalty kick, and forward Jessica McDonald netted the game-winning goal for Portland Thorns FC in a 1-0 victory over National Women’s Soccer League expansion side Houston Dash in front of 3,931 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday night.
Thorns FC (3-1-2, 11pts) earned their second clean sheet of the season as Angerer came up with a crucial diving save on a 48th-minute penalty kick by Houston midfielder Kaylyn Kyle. Following a long cross into the penalty box, Portland was whistled for a handball, setting up the spot kick for the Dash (1-5-0, 3pts). Leaping to her right, Angerer smothered the effort and quickly recovered into a position to help guide the rebound out for a goal kick as Thorns FC extended their club-record, road-unbeaten streak to eight consecutive matches in all competitions dating back to the 2013 season.
Registering her team-leading fourth goal of the season, McDonald delivered the game-winning goal from close range in the 57th minute, connecting on a well-placed cross from midfielder Angie Kerr. The goal was McDonald’s fourth in the last four matches and set a new NWSL-career high for the forward.
McDonald finished with a game-high six shots, including three on goal, while strike partner Christine Sinclair delivered four shots, including a near miss in the 12th minute from 12-yards out that she pulled just wide of the far left post following a pass from McDonald near the end line.
Portland, which finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots on Wednesday, has attempted six or more shots on goal in four straight games while also earning a second consecutive shutout against the Dash this season. Thorns FC squared off against Houston on April 12 in the season-opening match at BBVA Compass Stadium, coming away with a 1-0 win.
Taking command of the penalty box, Angerer saved a close-range header from Houston midfielder Jordan Jackson in the 16th minute, while also coming up with critical stops in the 42nd minute on another effort by Jackson and in the 77th minute as second-half substitute forward Kealia Ohai found space to turn and shoot in front of goal. By recording the shutout, Portland extended Houston’s scoreless streak to four straight games (365 consecutive minutes).
Thorns FC, playing in their fourth road game in six matches, nearly found additional goals late in the second half as Sinclair saw an effort from the right side of the penalty box saved and McDonald couldn’t convert either of two one-on-one opportunities against Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod. The Canadian international finished with six saves.
Portland returns to the Rose City for consecutive home matches, beginning Wednesday, May 21, against the Western New York Flash at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Thorns FC then play host to Sky Blue FC on Saturday, May 24; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Both matches at Providence Park will be broadcast via live, high-definition webstream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
· With the win, Thorns FC extended their club-record, road-unbeaten streak to eight consecutive matches in all competitions (5-0-3).
· Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who made a season-high seven saves on Wednesday, has conceded just one goal off a penalty kick in three attempts this season.
· Defender Nikki Marshall made her 28th consecutive regular-season start for Thorns FC on Wednesday.
· Portland improved its road record in 2014 to 2-0-2 overall with the win.
· Forward Jessica McDonald set a new NWSL-career high with her fourth goal this season.
· Wednesday’s game marked the second of three regular-season matches between Portland and Houston. Thorns FC won each of the first two matches, 1-0.
· An unused substitute, midfielder Allie Long saw her streak of consecutive regular-season starts for Portland snapped at 27 matches on Wednesday.
· With 13 shots on Wednesday, Thorns FC recorded double-digit shot attempts for the fifth time in six matches this season.
Portland Thorns FC (3-1-2, 11pts) at Houston Dash (1-5-0, 3pts)
May 14, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, Texas)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
Houston Dash 0 0 0
POR: McDonald (Kerr), 57
HOU: Ohai (Caution), 76
POR: Brooks (Caution), 90
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Nadine Angerer, D Courtney Niemiec, D Nikki Marshall, D Emily Menges, D Kat Tarr, M Rebecca Moros (Sarah Huffman, 69), M Amber Brooks, M Sinead Farrelly, M Angie Kerr (Meleana Shim, 80), F Christine Sinclair ©, F Jessica McDonald
Substitutes Not Used: GK Michelle Betos, M Allie Long, F Jackie Acevedo
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (McDonald, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (McDonald, 3); FOULS: 14 (Tarr, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 7
HOU: GK Erin McLeod ©, D Arianna Romero, D Holly Hein, D Osinachi Ohale, D Stephanie Ochs, M Jordan Jackson (Teresa Noyola, 65), M Becky Edwards, M Ella Masar, M Kaylyn Kyle, F Nina Burger (Kelly McFarlane, 74), F Rafaelle Souza (Kealia Ohai, 55)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bianca Henninger, D Marissa Diggs, D Kika Toulouse, F Tiffany McCarty
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Jackson, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Jackson, Ochs, 2); FOULS: 12 (Edwards, Kyle, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 6
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Tony Obas
4th Official: Jody Pinkerton
Weather: Clear, 66 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial