PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC finished with an 18-4 advantage in shots, including 8-2 on goal, but could not overcome a first-half deficit in a 1-0 loss against the Houston Dash in front of 14,409 fans on Saturday night at Providence Park.
Houston (2-2-2, 8pts) tallied the game’s lone goal in the 24th minute as forward Jessica McDonald made a run down the left side of the box and headed a cross by forward Kealia Ohai just inside the left post for the eventual game-winning goal.
Thorns FC (2-2-2, 8pts) saw their eight-game home unbeaten streak snapped despite outshooting the Dash 18-4 in the match, while also recording eight shots on goals. Portland finished with double-digit shot attempts for the third time in its last four matches.
Defensively, Thorns FC allowed just four shots; the fewest shots conceded in a match this season. It also marked the third time this season Portland has allowed three or fewer shots on goal in a match. Additionally, Portland conceded just one shot attempt in the second half while pushing for the equalizer.
After conceding the opening goal, Thorns FC created several scoring opportunities in the first half, registering 11 shots, including five on goal.
Portland forced Houston goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, who tallied eight saves in the match, into consecutive diving stops as forward Sarah Jackson and midfielder Kendall Johnson fired shots from close range on frame in the 23rd minute.
In the 41st minute, midfielder Sinead Farrelly dribbled down the right side and picked out Johnson running into the box on the opposite side of the field. After receiving the ball, Johnson dribbled around her defender and fired a shot from close range, but Henninger dove to make another save.
Thorns FC recorded a 7-1 advantage in shots in the second half.
In the 59th minute, midfielder Mana Shim made a near post run to get on the end of a cross by Farrelly and connected with a well-place header, but Henninger dove at the last moment to make the save.
Farrelly came close to leveling the match late in stoppage time, weaving through the defense into the box and firing a shot from near the penalty spot that missed just wide of the right post.
Saturday’s match marked the last home game for Portland before the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup break. Thorns FC will play on the road for in their next two matches before a league-wide break during the group stage of the tournament.
Portland travels to take on the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 30, at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast live via web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.