ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Behind goals from forward Christine Sinclair and midfielder Allie Long, Portland Thorns FC secured a 2-0 shutout on the road against the Western New York Flash in front of 2,979 fans on Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
Sinclair gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the first half and Long added a goal late in the second half to move Thorns FC up to sixth place in the NWSL standings through 14 games. With the win, Portland improves to 4-6-4 (16pts) overall, leapfrogging the Flash (4-7-3, 15pts) in the standings with six games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
After seeing several close chances miss in the first half, Thorns FC took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. Receiving a ball from forward Ayo, Sinclair took a quick touch and chipped a left-footed shot near the edge of the penalty box over goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, who was off her line. The assist was the first of Ayo’s NWSL and Thorns FC career, while Sinclair netted her second goal of the season.
Thorns FC nearly doubled their lead in the 36th minute when Sinclair was knocked down in the box by midfielder Becky Edwards and drew a penalty kick. Long stepped to the spot to take the kick, but D’Angelo dove to her left to make the save. Near the end of the first half, Sinclair changed the point of attack with a cross for midfielder Sinead Farrelly inside the box. Farrelly cut the ball back and fired a shot that hit off the underside of the crossbar and out.
Remaining on the front foot in the second half, Ayo and Sinclair linked up again this time in the 49th minute. After a quick flick in the box over the top by Sinclair, Ayo hit a looping shot over D’Angelo, but defender Whitney Engen tracked back and cleared the ball off the goal line.
Making her 10th start of the season, goalkeeper Michelle Betos made four saves in the match, earning her second clean sheet of the season. Betos made critical stops in both halves, including a save less than 10 minutes into the match to deny forward Lynn Williams on the breakaway and then again in the 59th minute, cutting down the angle on forward Jasmyne Spencer’s attempt inside the goal box.
Long tallied her team-leading sixth goal of the season, while Sinclair registered her first assist of the 2015 campaign in the 80th minute. Sinclair juggled the ball over a Flash defender and dribbled into the box before slotting a pass back across the box for Long to finish from close range, giving Portland a 2-0 lead.
Thorns FC improve to 3-1-3 all-time against the Flash, including a record of 1-0-2 on the road. The win at Sahlen’s Stadium was the first for Portland during regular-season play since 2013.
Portland returns to the Rose City for back-to-back home matches beginning with a midweek contest against the Boston Breakers on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Providence Park. Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is 7 p.m. (Pacific) with a web stream broadcast on www.FOXSportsGO.com and on tablets and mobile devices via the FOX Sports Go app.
- Defender Emily Menges made her 22nd consecutive start, dating back to the 2014 season.
- With the goal, forward Christine Sinclair is tied for second in career points (37) with forward Alex Morgan.
- Forward Ayo registered her first career NWSL assist in the match.
- Portland is 3-1-3 all-time against the Flash in regular-season play and unbeaten in three regular-season meetings (1-0-2) at Sahlen’s Stadium.
- Thorns FC picked up its first win on the road since June 21, 2014, and its first win of the 2015 season away from Providence Park.
- Long (18) and Sinclair (17) rank first and second, respectively, on Thorns FC’s all-time goal-scoring list.
- Sinclair tallied her fifth career game-winning goal, moving into a tie for first place in career game-winning goals with Morgan.
- Long has scored in consecutive matches against the Flash, registering the game-winning goal in the last meeting between the two teams on April 18.
- Portland is 4-0-1 this season and 13-0-3 since 2013 when Long scores in a game.
- Long has tallied a goal or an assist in eight of Thorns FC’s 14 matches this season.
- Portland improved to 14-0-5 all-time when leading at halftime.
- Thorns FC are 19-1-4 all-time when scoring at least two goals in a match.
- Playing 85 minutes, Long became the first Thorns FC player to reach 5,000 career minutes played.
- Midfielder Mana Shim made her 50th career appearance for Portland, becoming the second player to play 50 matches for the club, while midfielder Kendall Johnson made her 50th career NWSL appearance.
- Portland has limited its opponents to single-digit shot attempts in nine of its 14 matches this season.
- Thorns FC have a record of 20-2-5 all-time when scoring the first goal in a match.
- During the month of July since 2013, Sinclair has seven goals and four assists in 15 career matches.
Portland Thorns FC (4-6-4, 16pts) vs. Western New York Flash (4-7-3, 15pts)
July 29, 2015 – Sahlen’s Stadium (Rochester, N.Y.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 2
Western New York Flash 0 0 0
POR: Sinclair (Ayo), 33
POR: Long (Sinclair), 80
POR: Williamson (Caution), 28
POR: Zerboni (Caution), 79
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Michelle Betos, D Rachel Van Hollebeke, D Kat Williamson ©, D Emily Menges, M Clare Polkinghorne (Johnson, 90+2’), M McCall Zerboni, M Sinead Farrelly, M Tobin Heath, M Allie Long (Kyle, 85), F Ayo (Shim, 74), F Christine Sinclair
Substitutes Not Used: GK Nadine Angerer, D Steph Catley, F Jodie Taylor
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Long, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Long, Sinclair, 2); FOULS: 4 (Four players, 1); OFFSIDES: 11; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4
WNY: GK Sabrina D’Angelo, D Elizabeth Eddy (Fields, 76), D Abby Dahlkemper, D Whitney Engen, D Jaelene Hinkle, M Sam Mewis, M Halimatu Ayinde (Lady Andrade, 62), M Becky Edwards ©, F Lynn Williams, F Michelle Heyman, F Jasmyne Spencer
Substitutes Not Used: GK Chantel Jones, M Ashley Nick, D Kristen Edmonds, D Brittany Taylor
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Mewis, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Mewis, Spencer, 2); FOULS: 1 (Williams, 1); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 3
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Lauren Dearman
4th Official: Steve Montanino
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 88 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.