PORTLAND, Ore. – Receiving goals from four different players, including a brace from midfielder McCall Zerboni, Portland Thorns FC utilized a strong second-half performance, including four goals in a 17-minute span in a 5-2 win against the Boston Breakers before 15,624 fans on Wednesday night at Providence Park.
With the win, Thorns FC (5-6-4, 19pts) move into fifth place in the NWSL standings and are just one point out of the final playoff spot currently held by the Houston Dash (20pts) with five games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Tied at 1-1 at halftime, Portland scored four goals in a 17-minute span, including three in five minutes soon after the start of the second half. Six players tallied a goal or an assist in the match for Thorns FC. Zerboni and Jodie Taylor each registered their first career goals for Thorns FC and midfielder Tobin Heath recorded her first assist, and point, of the 2015 season.
Zerboni completed her brace in four minutes, receiving a well-placed chip near the penalty spot from Long before finishing into the bottom right corner in the 49th minute for her first goal. In the 53rd minute, Zerboni got on the end of a rebound cause by Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and delivered a hard shot from inside the goal box to extend Portland’s lead to 3-1.
Less than a minute later, forward Christine Sinclair played a ball into the box for midfielder Mana Shim, who bent a left-footed shot around Naeher for her fourth goal of the season. Long added the fifth, and final, goal for Portland, which marked her seventh tally of the 2015 campaign in the 66th minute with a one-time shot from close range.
Taylor opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a curling effort inside the right post, but Boston (3-10-3, 12pts) leveled the score in the 36th minute as a result of an own goal by Portland defender Kat Williamson. The Breakers added a second goal late as midfielder Kristie Mewis converted from the penalty spot after defender Emily Menges was whistled for an apparent handball in the box in the 87th minute.
Portland improved to 4-2-2 at home this season with the win and 8-2-3 in its last 13 matches at Providence Park. In the all-time series with Boston, Portland improved its record to 3-1-0 overall at home, outscoring the Breakers 15-5 in the last three meetings at Providence Park.
Thorns FC close out their two-game home stand on Sunday, Aug. 9 against the Chicago Red Stars at Providence Park; kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (Pacific) with a national television broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
Portland Thorns FC (5-6-4, 19pts) vs. Boston Breakers (3-10-3, 12pts)
Aug. 5, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Boston Breakers 1 1 2
Portland Thorns FC 1 4 5
POR: Taylor (Heath), 16
BOS: Own Goal (Williamson), 36
POR: Zerboni (Long), 49
POR: Zerboni, 53
POR: Shim (Sinclair), 54
POR: Long, 66
BOS: Mewis (penalty kick), 87
BOS: Pires (Caution), 30
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Michelle Betos, D Clare Polkinghorne, D Kat Williamson ©, D Emily Menges, M McCall Zerboni, M Sinead Farrelly, M Kaylyn Kyle, M Tobin Heath (Johnson, 73), M Allie Long, F Jodie Taylor (Shim, 46), F Christine Sinclair (Van Hollebeke, 85)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Nadine Angerer, F Hanna Terry
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Long, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Taylor, 3); FOULS: 8 (Farrelly, Polkinghorne, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
BOS: GK Alyssa Naeher, D Lauren Lazo, D Kassey Kallman, D Maddy Evans (Verdoia, 73), D Rachel Wood, D Mollie Pathman, M Suzane Pires (Ezurike, 60), M Amy Barczuk, M Kristie Mewis, F Katie Schoepfer ©, F Stephanie McCaffrey (Marlborough, 73)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Jami Kranich, M Bia, M Rafinha, F Kyah Simon
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Mewis, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Mewis, 2); FOULS: 12 (Kallman, Pires, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
Referee: Matthew Kreitzer
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, J.J. Blodgett
4th Official: Jason Perlewitz
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 71 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial