The scenarios played out like they needed this weekend, and Portland Thorns FC knew just what had to be done in Houston to secure the 2021 NWSL Shield and top overall spot heading into the postseason.
Like so often this season, the Thorns took care of business on the road, defeating a Houston Dash side who also has their sights on a playoff berth. The performance at PNC Stadium was a shining example of how Portland has performed away from Providence Park all year, and a fitting way to close out the team’s away schedule for the regular season.
With the 2021 NWSL Shield in-hand, let’s take a closer look at some road numbers by the Thorns this season.
The Thorns posted six road wins during the regular season, which is tops in the NWSL. Those six away victories in a single season matched a club record set previously in 2013 and 2018. The club finished the regular season with a 6-4-2 record on the road, bringing home points in eight of 12 road trips this season.
And if you look at all comps, that road record improves to 7-4-3.
The shutout against the Dash set a new club record and tied a league record for shutouts in single season with 12. But SEVEN of those dozen clean sheets this season came on the road, which is tied with North Carolina for most in the league.
The Thorns’ previous mark for road shutouts – five, set during the inaugural 2013 season.
While on the road this season, the Thorns struck for the opening goal in seven of their 12 away matches. And in each of those contests, but for one, the Thorns walked away with all three points. The only blemish to their 6-1-0 record when scoring first on the road this season was the recent 2-1 away loss to the Chicago Red Stars on Sept. 25.
BY THE NUMBERS BONUS – 3
Portland is the third club in NWSL history to win multiple NWSL Shields, joining the Seattle Reign (2014, 2015) and North Carolina (2017-19).
MORE ON THE THORNS’ NWSL SHIELD WIN
- RECAP | Thorns road win in Houston secures NWSL Shield
- HIGHIGHTS | Portland shuts out Houston in crucial win
- WATCH | Final moments as Thorns clinch 2021 NWSL Shield
- FARLEY | Third trophy of 2021 leaves Thorns perfectly positioned for a run at No. 4
- POSTGAME | Horan on winning Shield, performance in Houston
- MEDIA | Parsons reflects on win, team's mentality, NWSL Shield
- MEDIA | Bixby on shutout record, defensive progression and Sinclair's leadership