PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind a brace from midfielder Allie Long, Portland Thorns FC earned a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory against the Chicago Red Stars in a nationally televised game before 15,858 fans on Sunday night at Providence Park.
Recording their third straight win and handing Chicago (7-2-6, 27pts) just its second loss of the 2015 season, Thorns FC (6-6-4, 22pts) moved into a tie on points for fourth place in the NWSL standings with FC Kansas City. The top four teams in the league qualify for the postseason. With just four matches remaining on the regular-season schedule, Portland travels to face FC Kansas City on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Portland is just two points behind the Washington Spirit (24pts) in third place and five points behind Chicago (27pts) in second place, however each of those teams have a game in hand on Thorns FC.
After surrendering an early goal to the Red Stars off a shot by midfielder Alyssa Mautz in the 29th minute, Thorns FC capitalized on a defensive miscue between Chicago goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and defender Abby Erceg. The pair miscommunicated in an attempt to clear a cross played in by midfielder Tobin Heath near the edge of the goal box and got tangled up as Long was there to convert the loose ball and level the score in the 38th minute.
Long completed the comeback for Portland in the 69th minute. Receiving a pass from midfielder Sinead Farrelly at the edge of the box, Long fired a low, hard shot into the bottom left corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season and her third goal in the last three matches.
Chicago forward Christen Press registered four shots in the match, including a powerful shot off the post in the 36th minute. Late in second-half stoppage time, Press dribbled into the box and fired a shot from close range, but goalkeeper Michelle Betos, who recorded five saves in the match, jumped to make an acrobatic save, pushing the ball over the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
A handful of critical defensive plays helped solidified the win as a Thorns FC player cleared the ball off the goal line on two separate occasions in the match. Defender Kat Williamson tracked back in the 30th minute to clear a chipped attempt by Press off the line. In the second half after Betos punched away a free kick, midfielder Kaylyn Kyle volleyed away an attempt from Press inside the box in the 72nd minute.
Facing a quick turnaround, Thorns FC travel to take on FC Kansas City in an important road match on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo.; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific). Wednesday’s match will feature a live web stream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
Portland Thorns FC (6-6-4, 22pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (7-2-6, 27pts)
Aug. 9, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Chicago Red Stars 1 0 1
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 2
CHI: Mautz, 29
POR: Long, 38
POR: Long (Farrelly), 69
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Michelle Betos, D Clare Polkinghorne, D Kat Williamson © (Van Hollebeke, 85), D Emily Menges, M McCall Zerboni, M Sinead Farrelly, M Kaylyn Kyle, M Tobin Heath, M Allie Long, F Jodie Taylor (Sanderson, 60), F Christine Sinclair
Substitutes Not Used: GK Nadine Angerer, M Kendall Johnson, M Mana Shim, F Hanna Terry
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Long, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Long, 2); FOULS: 13 (Kyle, 4); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 7
CHI: GK Karina LeBlanc, D Abby Erceg, D Julie Johnston, D Arin Gilliland, D Taryn Hemmings, M Lori Chalupny ©, M Danielle Colaprico (Quon, 71), M Vanessa DiBernardo, M Alyssa Mautz (Hoy, 74), F Christen Press, F Melissa Tancredi (Huerta, 65)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Michele Dalton, D Michelle Lomnicki, F Adriana Leon, F Cara Walls
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Press, Tancredi, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Press, 2); FOULS: 13 (Colaprico, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Joshua Haimes
4th Official: Ekaterina Koroleva
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 80 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial