PORTLAND, Ore.- Portland Thorns FC clinched a spot in the 2021 Challenge Cup Final with a 2-0 victory over OL Reign on Wednesday night at Providence Park. Lindsey Horan scored first for Thorns FC with a free kick while Simone Charley added to the lead less than a minute into the second half.
The Thorns have won all three of its 2021 Challenge Cup matches, outscoring opponents by a five-to-one margin. Adrianna Franch made three saves for her second consecutive shutout.
3' — SAVE (POR) — Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made a comfortable save on a header from the Reign.
5' — SHOT (POR) — After her first shot was blocked by a Reign defender, Simone Charley's second attempt from the left-side of the penalty box forced a save from the Reign's goalkeeper.
17' — GOAL (POR) — In her first match of 2021, Lindsey Horan gave Thorns FC the lead when she fired in a free kick from near the top of the 18-yard box. Horan's pinpoint kick flew past both the wall and goalkeeper Karen Bardsley to deliver Portland the lead.
41' — SHOT (POR) — Charley turned a long Horan pass on frame with a header but the shot was caught comfortably by Bardsley.
43' — DOUBLE CHANCE (POR) — Christine Sinclair's pass sliced through the Reign defense and set up Charley, whose shot was saved by the Reign. The rebound fell to Sophia Smith, who almost gave Portland a two-goal advantage only to be denied off the line by an OL defender.
44' — SHOT (POR) — Portland forced a corner when Charley's glancing header was saved by a sprawling Bardsley.
46' — GOAL (POR) — Less than a minute after the restart, Thorns FC doubled the lead when Charley volleyed a rebound into the back of the net. Charley's volley came after Bardsley saved a Horan effort with her hip only to have the ball fall to Charley.
50' — SHOT (POR) — After forcing a turnover against OL's backline, Smith raced towards goal only to have her effort denied Bardsley.
56' — SHOT (POR) — Charley forced another save after she dribbled the ball 40-plus yards before taking having her shot from near the penalty spot denied.
80' — SAVE (POR) — Franch kept Portland's lead at two when she made a strong denial of a Megan Rapinoe shot.
83' — SHOT (POR) — Minutes after coming on as a substitute, Morgan Weaver deftly took down a Crystal Dunn pass before hammering a long-range shot just wide of target.
90' — SHOT (POR) — Weaver again found space behind the defense in the 90th minute but her shot from a tough angle struck the outside netting.
- Portland is unbeaten in its last seven matches (6-0-1), dating back to a 3-0 win over Utah Royals FC in the NWSL Fall Series on Sept. 20, 2020.
- Thorns FC are undefeated in 2021 (3-0-0), and are undefeated in two matches at Providence Park (2-0-0) this year.
- This is the first time Portland has ever started a year with three straight victories.
- Thorns FC had 29 shots in the match, which is the most by the club in a single match in club history
- Lindsey Horan scored her first goal of the 2021 campaign.
- The goal from Horan marked her second career goal from a direct free kick. Horan also scored from a free kick with a stoppage-time game-tying goal on July 8, 2017 against the Houston Dash.
- Simone Charley had nine shots and six shots on target in the match. Both totals are the most in NWSL play since 2019.
- Crystal Dunn made her debut for Portland, logging 90 minutes in her first start at Providence Park for the club.
- Adrianna Franch logged three saves and registered her second shutout of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.
- Thorns FC’s victory over OL Reign in tonight’s match occurred on the anniversary – eight years ago today – of Portland first-ever NWSL match Providence Park in 2013, which was against Seattle Reign FC and ended with a 2-1 Portland victory.
Portland Thorns FC vs. OL Reign - 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup
April 21, 2021 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 2
OL Reign 0 0 0
POR: Horan, 17
POR: Charley, 46
OLR: Brooks (cautionary), 65
POR: Horan (cautionary), 72
POR: GK Franch, D Kuikka, D Hubly, D Sauerbrunn, D Klingenberg (Pogarch, 77), M Horan, M Salem (Rodríguez, 55), M Dunn, F Charley (Lussi, 69), F Sinclair © (Boureille, 69), F Smith (Weaver, 77)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, D Nally, D Westphal, F Everett
TOTAL SHOTS: 29 (Charley, 9); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Charley, 6); FOULS: 11 (four way tie, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
OLR: GK Bardsley, D McNabb (Cox, 77), D Hammond, D Brooks, D Jiménez, M Quinn, M Cruz © (Weatherholt, 57), M Huerta, F Angelina (Rapinoe, 57), F Balcer (Pruitt, 57), F King (Fishlock, 51)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Dederick, D Barnes, M/F White, F Momiki
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (three way tie, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (three way tie, 1); FOULS: 16 (Weatherholt, Jiménez, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 7
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Salma Perez, Stephen McGonagle
4th Official: Corbyn May
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial