PORTLAND, Ore. – Receiving goals from midfielders Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Lindsey Horan in their debuts, and a pair of assists from midfielder Tobin Heath, Portland Thorns FC opened the 2016 season with a 2-1 come-from-behind win against the Orlando Pride in front 16,073 fans – the largest crowd for a Thorns FC home opener in team history – on Sunday night at Providence Park.
Kicking off its fourth season in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Portland improved to 4-0-0 in home openers as first-year head coach Mark Parsons earned his first career win for Thorns FC (1-0-0, 3pts). A total of eight players made their Thorns FC debut, while Heath tallied her second career multi-assist game for Portland.
Trailing 1-0 early in the first half, Brynjarsdottir evened the score with her first career goal for Thorns FC in the 25th minute. Collecting a loose ball in the midfield, Horan quickly switched the point of attack, delivering a pinpoint cross into the box for Heath, who slotted the ball back across the front of goal to Brynjarsdottir for the finish.
Remaining on the front foot in the second half, Thorns FC attempted eight shots, including a pair of chances from Horan and midfielder Allie Long that skipped just wide of the far post in the 69th minute. Horan broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute, calming slotting a shot past Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris after receiving a short pass in the box from Heath to put Portland in front 2-1.
Playing their inaugural NWSL match, Orlando (0-1-0, 0pts) tallied the opening goal in the 12th minute. Defender Steph Catley lined up a free kick on the edge of the right side of the box and delivered a low, hard shot that skipped through the box and into the back of the net inside the far post.
Thorns FC made several key defensive plays in the second half of the match to secure the win. Defender Emily Sonnett, making her Thorns FC debut as a rookie, jumped to block a powerful shot from forward Kristen Edmonds near the edge of the box in 62nd minute, while goalkeeper Michelle Betos tallied five saves in the match, including a point-blank stop on forward Alex Morgan in the 81st minute.
Portland travels to Kansas City, Kan. to begin a four-game road trip, squaring off against FC Kansas City on Saturday, April 23 at Swope Park Soccer Village; kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (Pacific). Saturday’s match will be broadcast live via webstream at www.thornsfc.com.
Portland Thorns FC (1-0-0, 3pts) vs. Orlando Pride (0-1-0, 0pts)
April 17, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 2
Orlando Pride 1 0 1
ORL: Catley (Unassisted), 12
POR: Brynjarsdottir (Heath), 25
POR: Horan (Heath), 81
POR: Brynjarsdottir (Caution), 45
ORL: Alleway (Caution), 78
POR: Klingenberg (Caution), 87
ORL: Kyle (Caution), 89
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Betos, D Williamson, D Menges, D Sonnett, D Klingenberg, M Long, M Horan, M Brynjarsdottir, M Shim (Weber, 57), M Heath © (Raso, 90), F Nadim (Reynolds, 87)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Franch, D Berryhill, M Boureille
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Horan, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Horan, 4); FOULS: 12 (Heath, 4); OFFSIDES: 7; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 5
ORL: GK Harris, D Belanger, D Alves, D Alleway, D Catley, M Edwards (Sanderson, 61), M Kyle, M Evans (Weatherholt, 70), F Edmonds, F Morgan ©, F Spencer (Hagen, 86)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bledsoe, D Levin, D Pressley, M/D Witteman
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Morgan, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Morgan, 3); FOULS: 10 (Kyle, 3); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Garner, J.J. Blodgett
4th Official: Kelsey Harms
Weather: Sunny, 76 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.