PORTLAND, Ore. — Midfielder Meleana Shim scored her second goal of the season and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made 5 saves, including an 83rd-minute stop on a penalty kick as Portland Thorns FC earned a 1-1 draw against the Western New York Flash before a spirited crowd of 13,021 at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday afternoon.
The result sees Thorns FC (8-4-3, 27pts) maintain their second-place standing in the National Women’s Soccer League, four points adrift of first-place Sky Blue FC. Portland attempted 20 shots for the second consecutive match and earned its second come-from-behind draw this season.
After making three saves in the opening 30 minutes of a back-and-forth match, LeBlanc got a touch on an off-balance shot from Western New York forward Abby Wambach in the 37th minute, but was unable to make the save as the Flash took a 1-0 lead. Working down the right sideline, Western New York defender Katherine Reynolds played a ball to forward Samantha Kerr 25 yards from goal. The Australian international curled a cross into the middle of the box that bounced once before Wambach, lunging around Thorns FC defender Kathryn Williamson, was able to get her right foot on the ball to lift it over LeBlanc.
Just more than 90 seconds later, Thorns FC found the equalizer off Shim’s left foot in the 38th minute. Midfielder Christine Sinclair worked down the left side of the field, finding enough space to deliver a pass toward the top of the penalty box. Forward Alex Morgan, who attempted a season-high 10 shots on Sunday, left the pass for Shim to attempt a shot in-stride.
Shim’s effort hit off the inside of the right post and into the goal to tie the match at 1-1. The goal was her second of the season after tallying against Seattle Reign FC in a 2-0 win on June 16 at JELD-WEN Field.
Applying consistent offensive pressure throughout the match, Thorns FC tied a season high with 10 shots on goal. Flash rookie goalkeeper Adrianna Franch stopped nine shots, her second-highest total this season for Western New York (6-4-6, 24pts).
Despite Portland’s pressure, Western New York earned a chance for the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute when forward Veronica Perez was fouled in the penalty box by Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long. Wambach, who increased her season total to 10 goals earlier in the game, stepped up moments later for the penalty kick.
LeBlanc dove to her left side, guessing the correct direction and parried Wambach’s shot onto the left post. Western New York’s rebound attempt was high, keeping the match knotted at 1-1. The penalty kick save was LeBlanc’s second consecutive save on a penalty kick after she stopped a late penalty kick on June 16 against Seattle Reign FC.
Thorns FC, featuring recently added midfielder Tobin Heath, peppered the Western New York goal in the second half, recording 11 shots (five on goal). Heath finished with three shots (2 on goal) and had a header in the box tipped over the crossbar by Franch in the 80th minute.
Portland attempted four of its five second-half shots on goal in the final 20 minutes of the match as Long saw a close-range effort saved in the 74th minute. Morgan had a pair of shots saved in the 75th and 82nd minutes to go along with Heath’s header. The sustained pressure led to a season-high eight corner kicks for Thorns FC.
Thorns FC take to the road in their next match against the Boston Breakers on Sunday, July 21, at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass.; kickoff is 1 p.m. (Pacific). Following the road game at Boston, Portland closes out its regular-season home schedule with three consecutive games at JELD-WEN Field from July 28-Aug. 4, including nationally televised games on FOX Soccer on July 28 against the Chicago Red Stars and Aug. 4 against FC Kansas City. Tickets for upcoming Thorns FC home games are available at the JELD-WEN Field box office, online at www.portlandthornsfc.com, or by calling 503-553-5555.
Portland Thorns FC (8-4-3, 27pts) vs. Western New York (6-4-6, 24pts)
July 14, 2013 – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 0 1
Western New York 1 0 1
WNY: Wambach (Kerr), 37
POR: Shim (Sinclair), 38
WNY: Wambach (Caution), 23
POR: Heath (Caution), 85
WNY: Salem (Caution), 90
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc, D Marian Dougherty, D Kathryn Williamson, D Rachel Buehler, D Nikki Marshall, M Tiffany Weimer (Foxhoven, 68), M Allie Long, M Mana Shim (Kerr, 87), M Tobin Heath, F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, M Elizabeth Guess, M Nikki Washington, D/M Courtney Wetzel
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Morgan, 10); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Morgan, 4); FOULS: 11 (Heath, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 5
WNY: GK Adrianna Franch; D Alex Sahlen, D Brittany Taylor, D Katherine Reynolds, D Estelle Johnson, M Angela Salem, M McCall Zerboni (capt.), M Sarah Huffman (Wells, 85), M Veronica Perez, F Samantha Kerr (Robinson, 83), F Abby Wambach
Substitutes Not Used: GK Pamela Tajonar, D Amy Barczuk, M Laura Heyboer, F Bryanna McCarthy
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Perez, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Wambach, 3); FOULS: 14 (Wambach, 6); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 9
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Andrew Evangelos, Farhad Dadkho
Fourth Official: Andrew Deuker
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.