BOSTON, Mass. – Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute, while midfielder Tobin Heath tallied her fourth assist in three games as Portland Thorns FC earned a 1-0 win on the road against the Boston Breakers in front of 3,698 at Jordan Field on Sunday night.
After a tightly-contested first half, Thorns FC (2-0-1, 7pts) broke the deadlock in the 79th minute. Defender Meghan Klingenberg was pulled down near the edge of the box on the left side, earning Portland a free kick. Heath lined up the kick, delivering a pinpoint cross into the middle of the box and Brynjarsdottir connected with a powerful header from close range to put Thorns FC ahead 1-0.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made her first career start for Portland, making her first appearance in a NWSL match since starting for the Western New York Flash in 2013 NWSL championship game against Thorns FC.
Franch came up with several key saves in the final 10 minutes, helping Portland record its first clean sheet of the 2016 campaign. She finished the match with four saves, all in the second half, quickly reacting to knock midfielder McCall Zerboni’s header off the goal line in the 81st minute and denying midfielder Kristie Mewis with a diving stop in the 90th minute.
Holding a slight advantage in shots in the first 45 minutes, Thorns FC came out on the front foot in the second half, registering eight shots, including five on goal and creating several quality scoring opportunities. Heath forced back-to-back saves by Boston goalkeeper Abby Smith in the 56th and 57th minutes. Building from the back, forward Nadia Nadim sent a perfectly weighted pass between two defenders for Heath running into the box and she fired a shot at a tight angle that was saved in the 56th minute. Seconds later, Heath’s acrobatic attempt from close range nearly snuck inside the near post.
Additionally, midfielder Mana Shim’s left-footed volley skipped just past the right post in the 62nd minute, while in the 64th minute a powerful swerving shot from distance by Klingenberg was parried out of bounds for a corner kick.
With the win, Portland has now opened the season unbeaten in its first three matches in each of its first four seasons.
Continuing their East Coast road swing, Thorns FC visit the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 7, at Maryland SoccerPlex. Saturday’s match kicks off at 4 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live webstream at www.thornsfc.com.
- Midfielder Tobin Heath has tallied an assist in three consecutive matches and now has eight career assists, which is tied for third most in Thorns FC history.
- Three of Portland’s four goals this season have come after the 75th minute, including a pair of game-winning tallies.
- Franch surpassed 100 career NWSL saves, tallying four saves in the match to reach 102 saves for her career in NWSL play.
- Thorns FC has tallied 20 goals in 10 matches all-time against the Breakers and 13 of those 20 goals have been scored in the second half.
- Midfielder Allie Long logged her 29th consecutive regular-season start, dating back to the 2014 season.
- Portland is 3-1-0 in its last four matches against the Breakers and has outscored Boston 10-4 in those four matches.
- Defender Katherine Reynolds earned her first career start for Thorns FC in the match, making her 60th career NWSL start.
- Sunday’s match marked the 10th meeting all-time between Boston and Portland, and Thorns FC sixth game on the road against the Breakers since 2013.
Portland Thorns FC (2-0-1, 7pts) at Boston Breakers (0-3-0, 0pts)
May 1, 2016 – Jordan Field (Boston, Mass.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Boston Breakers 0 0 0
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
POR: Brynjarsdottir (Heath), 79
BOS: Schillgard (Caution), 38
BOS: King (Caution), 78
BOS: Ratcliffe (Caution), 90
POR: Heath (Caution), 90+1
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Franch, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Long, M Horan, M Shim (Raso, 66), M Brynjarsdottir, M Heath © (Weber, 90+3), F Nadim (Morris, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Betos, M Boureille, D Berryhill
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Long, Heath, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Heath, 3); FOULS: 12 (Three players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4
BOS: GK Smith, D King, D Engen ©, D Kallman, D Pathman, M Zerboni, M Salem (Wood, 83), M Schillgard, M Mewis, F McCaffrey (Ratcliffe, 83), F Simon
Substitutes Not Used: GK Stout, D Westphal, D Elby, F Marlborough, M Schoepfer
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (McCaffrey, Zerboni, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 12 (Mewis, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Maggie Short
4th Official: Kali Langevin
Weather: Showers, 50 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.