PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Portland Thorns FC saw two shots hit the crossbar and a penalty kick saved in the final 25 minutes of the second half in a 1-0 road loss against Sky Blue FC in front of a sellout crowd of 5,547 fans at Yurcak Field on Saturday night.
Trailing 1-0 and playing on the front foot for most of the second half, Portland (6-8-4, 22pts) created multiple chances for an equalizer down the stretch as forward Christine Sinclair and midfielder Tobin Heath both hit the crossbar, while forward Alex Morgan had a penalty kick saved in the 89th minute.
In the 67th minute, Sinclair got behind the Sky Blue defense, forcing goalkeeper Brittany Cameron to make a diving stop on a shot from close range. Cameron parried the shot away and Sinclair received the rebound, bending a shot towards the right side of the goal, hitting both the crossbar and the post. Heath saw a chance just miss as she dribbled into the box and fired a curling effort towards the top-right corner, rattling the crossbar in the 79th minute.
In the 87th minute, Cameron collided with Sinclair in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for Thorns FC. Morgan stepped up to attempt the kick and delivered a left-footed shot. Cameron dove to the right to make the initial stop. On the rebound, Morgan hit a one-time volley back across the goal, but Cameron managed to dive back to her left to make another save.
Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer finished the match with four saves and made two key stops in one-on-one situations, denying forward Sam Kerr with kick saves in the 70th minute as well as in second-half stoppage time.
Sky Blue FC (5-7-6, 21pts) tallied the game-winning goal in the 19th minute as forward Kelley O’Hara collected a loose ball in the box and passed it to forward Nadia Nadim in front of goal for a close-range finish.
Portland remains in the playoff hunt with two games left on the regular-season schedule, sitting six points behind FC Kansas City, the Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirit (28 pts).
Thorns FC return to the Rose City to play host to the Spirit in their regular-season home finale on Sunday, Aug. 30, at Providence Park. The match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific) with a national television broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
- Midfielder Allie Long made her 60th career start in the match for Thorns FC.
- Forward Christine Sinclair started her 50th career match for Portland.
- Defender Kat Williamson earned her 40th career start for Thorns FC in the match and started in her 60th career NWSL match.
- Midfielders McCall Zerboni and Sinead Farrelly appeared in their 60th and 50th career NWSL matches, respectively.
- Forward Alex Morgan returned to the field for the first time since April 11, 2015 for Portland, entering the match in the 60th minute.
- Defender Alyssa Kleiner made her fourth start this season for Thorns FC, but her first appearance since signing with the club this week.
- Long and Williamson are the only two players this season who have started all 18 matches.
Portland Thorns FC (6-8-4, 22pts) at Sky Blue FC (5-7-6, 21pts)
Aug. 22, 2015 – Yurcak Field (Piscataway, N.J.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 0 0
Sky Blue FC 1 0 1
SKY: Nadim (O’Hara), 19
SKY: Haagsma (Caution), 59
POR: Zerboni (Caution), 68
SKY: Killion (Caution), 73
SKY: Cameron (Caution), 87
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Nadine Angerer, D Clare Polkinghorne, D Kat Williamson ©, D Alyssa Kleiner (Ayo, 79), M McCall Zerboni, M Sinead Farrelly, M Kaylyn Kyle (Sanderson, 46), M Tobin Heath, M Allie Long, F Jodie Taylor (Morgan, 60), F Christine Sinclair
Substitutes Not Used: GK Michelle Betos, M Kendall Johnson, M Mana Shim, D Rachel Van Hollebeke
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Morgan, Taylor, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Morgan, 2); FOULS: 7 (Heath, 2); OFFSIDES: 9; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
SKY: GK Brittany Cameron, D Caitlin Foord, D Christie Rampone ©, D Lindsi Cuthsall, D Cami Levin (Hayes, 84), M Hayley Haagsma, M Katy Freels (Lytle, 75), M Sarah Killion, F Kelley O’Hara, F Sam Kerr, F Nadia Nadim (Stanton, 90+3)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Aubrey Bledsoe, D Kristin Grubka, M Shawn Gordon, F Jonelle Filligno
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Kerr, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (O’Hara, Kerr, 2); FOULS: 9 (Haagsma, 3); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 3
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Ryan Cook, Logan Brown
4th Official: Ernie Constantine
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.