PORTLAND, Ore. – Returning to Providence Park for their first home match in more than a month, Portland Thorns FC tallied three first-half goals to extend their unbeaten streak to six matches, a Thorns FC record, in a 4-1 win against the Washington Spirit in front of 15,823 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night.
With the win, Thorns FC (3-0-3, 12pts) are now the only remaining undefeated team in the NWSL through the first six games this season. Midfielder Tobin Heath returned to the field, following a one-game suspension for a red card, tallying a goal and her league-leading fifth assist. Midfielder Lindsey Horan notched her team-leading third goal of the campaign, while midfielder Meg Morris, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, tallied her first career goal for Thorns FC.
Coming out on the attack, Portland registered seven shots in the first half, while not allowing a single shot by Washington. Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir came close to opening the scoring in the 26th minute, sending a well-placed, half volley towards the top, right corner of the goal that was tipped over the bar and out of bounds for a corner kick by Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.
Earning consecutive corner kicks, Heath served a driven ball on the second attempt from the right corner towards the back post. Labbé came to punch the ball away, but the ball landed at the back post for Horan who calmly headed the ball into the back of the net in the 27th minute.
Portland doubled its lead through an own goal in the 31st minute on a quick restart off a throw-in from Heath. Forward Christine Sinclair settled the ball and delivered a cross into the box near the penalty spot. Labbé attempted to clear the ball, but kicked it right into the chest of Spirit defender Alyssa Kleiner and the ball bounced into the back of the net.
Starting in her first match this season for Thorns FC, Sinclair set up Heath for Portland’s third goal of the first half late in stoppage time, sending a side-footed chip into the box for Heath making the run. Heath quickly saw the goalkeeper of her line and chipped the ball over Labbé’s hands before hustling to tap the ball in at the goal line.
Washington pulled a goal back through midfielder Joanna Lohman in the 55th minute, but Thorns FC remained on the front foot in the second half, registering a season-high 15 shots in the match as Morris tallied the fourth goal in the game, pouncing on a loose ball near the edge of the box and neatly placing a shot with the outside of her right front just inside the right post in the 78th minute.
Playing the second of back-to-back home matches, Thorns FC play host to Cascadia-rival Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, May 29, at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific) with a live web stream at www.thornsfc.com.
Portland Thorns FC (3-0-3, 12pts) vs. Washington Spirit (4-1-1, 13pts)
May 21, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Washington Spirit 0 1 1
Portland Thorns FC 3 1 4
POR: Horan (Heath), 27
POR: Own Goal, 31
POR: Heath (Sinclair), 45
WSH: Lohman (Dunn), 55
POR: Morris (Unassisted), 78
POR: Sonnett (Caution), 32
POR: Morris (Caution), 60
POR: Nadim (Caution), 61
WSH: Nairn (Caution), 61
POR: Horan (Caution), 76
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Franch, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Long, M Horan (Raso, 80), M Brynjarsdottir M Heath, F Sinclair © (Morris, 56), F Nadim (Raso, 72)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kruger, M Boureille, D Berryhill, F Weber
TOTAL SHOTS: 15; SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Two players tied, 2); FOULS: 15 (Two players tied, 4); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1
WSH: GK Labbe, D Zadorsky, D Oyster (Farquharson, 80), D Krieger ©, D Kleiner, M Matheson, M Nairn, M Huster (Banini, 45), M Lohman, F Stengel (Williams, 69), F Dunn
Substitutes Not Used: GK, Haridic, D Dyasco, D Johnson, F Ordega, D Johnson
TOTAL SHOTS: 9; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 5
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, Kelsey Harms
4th Official: Lucas Brooks
Weather: Cloudy, 59 degrees