NWSL MATCH RECAP | Portland Thorns FC 3, Chicago Red Stars 0

PORTLAND, Ore. – Playing their first home match of the 2019 season following six consecutive road matches to begin the campaign, Portland Thorns FC earned a 3-0 shutout victory over the Chicago Red Stars in front of 19,461 fans – a club-record crowd for a home opener – at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon. Midge Purce scored two goals in the first half, Simone Charley logged two assists and Marissa Everett scored her first professional goal for Thorns FC, who improved to 4-1-2 on the season.  

Return to Providence Park
Sunday’s match marked the first home match for Thorns FC (4-1-2, 14pts) at Providence Park in 253 days, when the club played host to the North Carolina in the 2018 NWSL Championship match on Sept. 22, 2018. The attendance for the match was 19,461, the largest crowd for a Thorns FC home-opening match in their seven NWSL seasons. Additionally, Portland improved to 7-0-0 in home-opening matches, outscoring its opponents 18-5 in those matches.

Home fortress
Since 2016, Portland has posted a record of 25-5-5 at Providence Park, outscoring opponents 75-33 during that span. Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last seven regular-season home matches (6-0-1). 

Purce + Charley
Purce scored for a second consecutive game for Thorns FC, tallying her first career brace and her first goal at Providence Park. She is the second player to record a multi-goal game this season for Thorns FC, after Christine Sinclair tallied a hat-trick against Chicago on April 20. Charley registered her first two career assists for Portland to become the second player this season to record a multi-assist game along with Meghan Klingenberg, who tallied two assists on April 20 against the Red Stars.

Against Chicago
With the win, Thorns FC extended their unbeaten streak against Chicago to 16 games with a mark of 7-0-9. Portland improved to 9-1-9 all-time against the Red Stars, including a record of 5-1-3 at Providence Park. In two matches against Chicago this season, Portland has tallied seven goals, with a player recording a multi-goal and multi-assist game in each of those two matches.

Key plays
Portland nearly opened the scoring in the third minute. After the ball was initially cleared by Chicago, Emily Menges headed the ball to Ana Crnogorcevic near the edge of the box and Crnogorcevic flicked the ball on for Purce, who delivered a one-time volley from inside the box that struck the underside of the crossbar.

Thorns FC secured a 1-0 lead as Purce tallied her second goal of the season. Charley dribbled at two Chicago defenders and played a perfectly weighted through ball between two defenders for Purce, who rounded Red Stars goalkeeper Emily Boyd and converted from close range in the 27th minute.

Portland doubled its lead in the 31st minute when Charley and Purce linked up for a second consecutive goal. Charley worked her way down the left side of the field, dribbled past her defender inside the box and delivered a cross to Purce at the right post for the finish and her second goal of the game.

Charley nearly added to Thorns FC’s lead less than a minute into the second half. After combining down the right side of the field, Charley played the ball out wide to Purce, who fired a cross into the center of the box. Charley made a surging run into the box, getting on the end of the cross and directing a header toward the bottom left corner of the goal that skipped just wide of the post.

Pushing for a third goal, Purce led the break for Portland, dribbling down the left side of the field. Purce dribbled into the box and sent a shot from a tight angle with the inside of her left foot from the edge of the six-yard box that went just wide of the right post in the 66th minute.

Thorns FC took a 3-0 lead in the 85th minute after Klingenberg’s free-kick service from the left flank fell to Everett, who took a touch with her knee inside the penalty area, before placing her left-footed shot through Boyd’s legs and into the back of the net for her first career professional goal. 

In stoppage time, Celeste Boureille was released into space behind the Red Stars defense down the right wing. Boureille’s pass into the box found Everett, but her shot from close range went just over the crossbar.

Next match
Following a league-wide break for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Thorns FC travel for a road match against the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, June 15, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Beginning at 4:45 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be broadcast on Yahoo! Sports. 

Portland Thorns FC (4-1-2, 14pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (3-3-2, 11pts)
June 2, 2019 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
Chicago Red Stars        0          0          0
Portland Thorns FC       2          1          3

Scoring Summary:
POR: Purce (Charley), 27
POR: Purce (Charley), 31
POR: Everett (Klingenberg), 85

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Ball (caution), 37
CHI: Short (caution), 66
CHI: Sharples (caution), 90+3

POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Ball, D Reynolds, D Menges ©, D Seiler, D Klingenberg, M Salem (Boureille, 43), M Brynjarsdottir, M Crnogorcevic, F Charley (Everett, 78), F Purce (Lussi, 68)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, M Ogle, M Pogarch, M Byrne 

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Purce, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Purce, 3); FOULS: 11 (Purce, 3), OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 5

CHI: GK Boyd, D Short, D Naughton, D Gorden, D Wright, M Stanton, M Colaprico, M DiBernardo ©, F Vasconcelos (Sanchez, 76), F Nagasato, F Johnson (Sharples, 80)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Hinz, D Goralski, D Elby, D Davison, F Szczesny

TOTAL SHOTS: 27 (Wright, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: (Wright, 3); FOULS: 15 (Short, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 2

Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referees: Maggie Short. Deleana Quan
4th Official: JJ Blodgett
Attendance: 19,461
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial