NWSL MATCH RECAP | Portland Thorns FC 3, Houston Dash 1

PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind a first-half brace from midfielder Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC earned a second consecutive win, defeating the Houston Dash 3-1 in front 15,327 at Providence Park on Sunday night. With a pair of goals, Horan is now tied for the NWSL lead with nine goals, while forward Ana Crnogorcevic tallied her fourth goal of the season in the victory. 

Fast starts
Portland has tallied five total goals in the first half of its last two matches. This season, Thorns FC have scored more goals in the first half (17) than any team in the NWSL, including a league-best nine goals in the final 15 minutes of the opening half. Portland is 6-0-2 when scoring the first goal this season.

Against Houston
Thorns FC picked up their second consecutive 3-1 win over the Dash this season, improving to 2-0-1 in three matches against Houston in 2018. Portland has outscored the Dash 7-3 in those three meetings, including three goals from Crnogorcevic. Thorns FC have won four straight matches against Houston at Providence Park, outscoring the Dash 10-2 in those games. Additionally, Portland is unbeaten in its last seven matches (5-0-2) against Houston.

Scoring a brace
With a pair of goals in the first half, Horan tallied her first brace of the season, and the second of her Thorns FC career. Horan is the fourth player in club history to register multiple braces. She is the second player to score a brace for Portland in 2018 as forward Christine Sinclair recorded two goals on the road against the Chicago Red Stars on March 31.

Key plays
Thorns FC took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute as Horan tallied her first goal of the match. Defender Ellie Carpenter found defender Emily Sonnett with a throw-in. Sonnett looked up and played a long pass from the right wing into the box for Horan, who beat Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell to the ball and deposited a looping header into the back of the net from near the penalty spot.

Remaining on the front foot, midfielder Celeste Boureille intercepted the ball and played a short pass to Horan, who fired a dipping strike from distance towards the right corner, but Campbell parried the attempt away, pushing the ball out for a Portland throw-in in the 18th minute.

Horan doubled Portland’s lead in the 31st minute, registering her first brace of the season, on a set piece. Midfielder Tobin Heath played a driven ball into the middle of the box and Crnogorcevic redirected the header with a quick flick that hit the underside of the crossbar. The ball landed back near the edge of the goal line and Horan crashed into the box to convert and give Thorns FC a 2-0 lead.

The Dash pulled a goal back in the 37th minute to make it 2-1. Houston midfielder Kyah Simon played a cross into the box from the right side and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch came off her line to punch the ball away, but Dash forward Kealia Ohai came rushing toward goal and pounced on the ball pushed away by Franch for the finish in front of goal.

Portland increased its lead to 3-1 in the 48th minute. Crnogorcevic found a pocket of space in between a pair of Houston defenders and forward Hayley Raso slipped a well-timed pass into space for Crnogorcevic and she delivered a well-placed strike inside the left post for her fourth goal of the season.

Horan came close on two occasions to scoring a hat trick in the 53rd minute. First lining up a free kick from just outside the box, sending her strike just over the crossbar. Then, Heath dribbled into the box and slipped a pass off to Horan making a late run, but her shot went just wide of the target. 

Raso looked to have her first goal of the season in the 71st minute, but was whistled for offside. Less than a minute later, Raso got in behind the Houston backline, running down the right side. She dribbled towards goal, firing a shot from a tight angle at the right wing, but Campbell came off her line quickly to make the save.

Remaining on the front foot, Horan led the attack for Portland in the 86th minute. Playing a ball into space for forward Tyler Lussi running towards the edge of the box. Lussi took a touch and attempted to chip Campbell off her line, but sent the ball just over the crossbar.

Portland Thorns FC (7-5-5, 26pts) vs. Houston Dash (5-7-5, 20pts)
July 15, 2018 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
Portland Thorns FC       2          1          3
Houston Dash               1          0          1

Scoring Summary: 
POR: Horan (Sonnett), 16
POR: Horan, 31
HOU: Ohai, 37
POR: Crnogorcevic (Raso), 48

Misconduct Summary:

POR: GK Franch, D Carpenter, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg (Reynolds, 66), M Boureille, M Horan, M Sinclair ©, F Heath F Crnogorcevic (Weber, 90), F Raso (Lussi, 83)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Hubly, M Salem, F Onumonu

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Horan, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Horan, 4); FOULS: 9 (Raso, 3), OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 3

HOU: GK Campbell, D Comeau, D Brooks, D Agnew, D Chapman (Hanson, 70), M Polkinghorne (Kgatlana, 84), M Motlhalo, M Simon (Prince, 46), M Huerta, M Ohai ©, F Daly

Substitutes Not Used: GK Prudhomme, D Van Wyk, F Latsko, F Jordan

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Prince, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 8 (Chapman, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 5

Referee: Eric Tattersall
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Deleana Quan
4th Official: Chad Stewart
Attendance: 15,327
Weather: Sunny, 91 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial