BOYDS, Md. – Portland Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scored an early goal and Portland extended its unbeaten streak to six straight games in a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit in front of 3,854 fans at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday night.
The match featured a weather delay of nearly two hours prior to kicking off on Wednesday.
Morgan opened the scoring in the eighth minute, tallying her third goal in the last four games, but Washington Spirit forward Jodie Taylor netted the equalizer in the 68th minute of the match.
Thorns FC (8-6-6, 30pts) remain in third place in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) standings with the draw, while Washington is fourth with 28 points and the Chicago Red Stars sit in fifth place with 27 points. The top four teams qualify for the NWSL playoffs.
The tie extended Portland’s unbeaten streak to six games (2-0-4), while Thorns FC have now earned a draw on the road in three consecutive matches with a record of 3-2-5 away from Providence Park in 2014.
Defender Steph Catley tallied the assist on Morgan’s goal, her fourth consecutive game with an assist, sending a ball over the top as Morgan ran in behind the Washington defense. Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris came off her line and Morgan was able to chip Harris from the edge of the box to give Portland the early 1-0 lead.
Taylor tied the game, making a well-timed run in behind the Portland backline as midfielder Diana Matheson played a long through ball into space. Taylor found herself one-on-one with Thorns FC goalkeeper Nadine Angerer as she dribbled around her to the right before finishing from close range with a high shot from a tight angle.
Morgan nearly scored additional goals in the 22nd and 34th minutes. Midfielder Verónica Boquete threaded a ball through the right side of the box to Morgan who fired a shot on frame from close range, but Harris dove to her right to make the save before defender Ali Krieger headed the ball out for a corner kick. Morgan found herself one-on-one with Harris in the 34th minute as she tried to dribble around the goalkeeper in the box to the left, but Harris reached out to knock the ball away.
Portland held an 8-7 edge in shots, including four in the second half as forward Christine Sinclair saw her shot rattle the post in the 64th minute. Morgan tallied a match-high five shots and late in the second half was able to get past her defender outside the box before hitting a low, hard shot that was kicked away by Harris in the 78th minute.
Thorns FC return to the Rose City briefly before traveling to square off against Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, July 27, at the Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium; kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast live via webstream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
- Wednesday’s match featured a weather delay of nearly two hours. Portland’s match at Western New York on May 3 was delayed for 43 minutes due to lightning.
- Forward Alex Morgan has scored three of her five goals this season against the Washington Spirit.
- Defender Nikki Marshall made her 42nd consecutive regular-season start for Thorns FC on Wednesday.
- Defender Steph Catley extended her streak to four consecutive games with an assist.
- Portland allowed just seven shots in the match, equaling an opponent’s season low as Sky Blue FC on June 25 and Chicago on July 9 both tallied just seven shots against Thorns FC.
- Thorns FC remain unbeaten in five meetings with Washington (4-0-1), while having outscored the Spirit, 13-3, in the all-time series.
- Portland is 7-0-4 when scoring first and 6-0-4 when leading at halftime this season.
Portland Thorns FC (8-6-6, 30pts) at Washington Spirit (8-8-4, 28pts)
July 23, 2014 – Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 0 1
Washington Spirit 0 1 1
POR: Morgan (Catley), 8
WAS: Taylor (Matheson), 68
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Nadine Angerer, D Nikki Marshall, D Rachel Van Hollebeke, D Emily Menges, D Steph Catley, M Sarah Huffman (Mana Shim, 75), M Amber Brooks, M Verónica Boquete (Angie Kerr, 86), M Allie Long, F Alex Morgan, F Christine Sinclair © (Jessica McDonald, 73)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Betos
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Morgan, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Morgan, 4); FOULS: 3 (3 players, 1); OFFSIDES: 8; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 1
WAS: GK Ashlyn Harris, D Ali Krieger ©, D Niki Cross, D Crystal Dunn, D Alex Singer, D Tori Huster, M Lori Lindsey (Veronica Perez, 90+2), M Christine Nairn, M Diana Matheson, F Jodie Taylor, F Lisa De Vanna (Kerstin Garefrekes, 69)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Jones, M Averbuch, D Gayle, M Angeli, F Adams
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (3 players, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Taylor, 2); FOULS: 7 (7 players, 1); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
Referee: Katja Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Kathryn Nesbitt, Hagan Barnett
4th Official: Danielle Chesky
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 76 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial