Thorns FC

NWSL RECAP | Thorns FC fall, 2-1, on the road to Chicago Red Stars


BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Portland Thorns FC’s chance at clinching a playoff spot will have to wait another week. The Thorns conceded two goals on the road in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday evening at SeatGeek Stadium.

The first-place Thorns are now 12-5-2 (38pts), but maintain a seven-point lead at the top of the NWSL standings.

The Thorns’ loss ended an NWSL-record, 18-game unbeaten streak against the Red Stars. The last time Portland lost to Chicago in regular-season play came more than eight years ago on June 1, 2013.

Saturday’s result was only the second time that Portland has suffered a loss in its last 12 regular-season contests, dating back to July 3.

After the two sides traded goals in the first half, the Red Stars received the decisive goal from Rachel Hill in the 65th minute to extend their unbeaten streak to five games.

Portland’s Christine Sinclair opened the scoring in the 24th minute, scoring her fourth goal of the regular season. She took a pass from Crystal Dunn and delivered a ball from the edge of the box into the back of the net. Sinclair has now scored in five straight regular-season games against the Red Stars.

Chicago answered just a minute later off the foot of forward Kealia Watt. A cross from the right side slipped through the hands of Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby. Arin Wright played a quick pass to Watt, who pulled one back.

Bixby recorded six saves against Chicago – a season-high for a Thorns goalkeeper. Five of those stops came in the first half.

Goal-Scoring Plays

24’ – POR – Dunn laid the ball off for an on-rushing Sinclair. The Thorns captain then one-timed a perfectly placed ball into the top far corner.

25’ – CHI – Watt took advantage of a miscue by Bixby, and pulled the Red Stars level with a goal scored into an empty net.

65’ – CHI – A sharply hit cross by Mallory Pugh across the six yard box found Hill on the back post for the game-winner.

Portland Thorns FC (12-5-2, 38pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (8-7-5, 29pts)
Sept. 25, 2021 – SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, Ill.)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Sinclair (Dunn), 24
CHI: Watt (Wright), 25
CHI: Hill (Pugh), 65

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Sauerbunn (caution), 90+1

POR: GK Bixby, D Westphal (Kuikka, 45), D Menges, D Sauerbrunn, D Klingenberg, M Boureille (S. Smith, 45), M Salem, M Moultrie (Rodríguez, 45), M Dunn, F Sinclair ©, F Weaver (Lussi, 79)

Substitutes Not Used: GK A. Smith, D Pogarch, D Hubly, M Ryan, M Everett

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Three players tied, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 10 (Sauerbrunn, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 6

CHI: GK Miller, D Krueger, D Gorden, D Davidson, D Wright, M Gautrat, M Woldmoe, M DiBernardo © (Colaprico, 87), F Hill (Mautz, 80), F Watt, F Pugh (Johnson, 87)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Boyd, D Sharples, D St. Georges, D Milazzo, M Stanton, F Doniak

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Watt, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Three players tied, 2); FOULS: 7 (Hill, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1

Referee: Katja Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Garner, Rachel Smith
4th Official: Laura Rodriguez
Attendance: 3,527
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 64 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


  • Dunn appeared in her 100th career NWSL game. She is the 48th player to reach this milestone.
  • Dunn recorded her second assist of the season in the match.
  • Dunn has registered at least two assists in all six of her NWSL seasons.
  • Sinclair has tallied 16 goals in 20 career regular season matches against Chicago.
  • With the goal tonight, Sinclair has scored in five consecutive regular season games against the Red Stars.
  • Sinclair has scored seven goals in her last five matches against Chicago.
  • On the road against the Red Stars, Sinclair has tallied 10 career goals.
  • Celeste Boureille returned to the field for the first time since Aug. 7, starting and playing 45 minutes.
  • Rocky Rodríguez and Angela Salem are the only two players to appear in all 18 games for Portland this season.