PORTLAND, Ore. – Playing their final regular-season home match, Portland Thorns FC defeated the Western New York Flash 3-2 behind goals from forward Nadia Nadim, forward Christine Sinclair and midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir before a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Sunday night. With the win, Portland earned a home playoff game in the NWSL semifinals.
Thorns FC (11-3-5, 38pts) finished their 2016 home schedule with a record of 8-1-1 at Providence Park as they played in front of their third sellout crowd in team history. In 10 home matches this season, Portland set a new NWSL record for total (169,449) and average (16,945) attendance in the team’s fourth season.
While they still await their opponent and exact date for their home semifinal match, tickets for Thorns FC’s first-ever home playoff game go sale to the general public on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available for purchase online at www.thornsfc.com, by phone at (888) 736-6849, or at the Providence Park box office. Thorns FC season ticket holders will receive information by email on how to purchase their tickets for the semifinal playoff match.
Thorns FC opened the scoring in the 27th minute following Nadim’s fourth converted penalty kick of the season. After midfielder Lindsey Horan played a long ball over the top that freed Nadim in behind the Western New York defense, the Denmark international was fouled inside the box. Nadim’s ensuing penalty attempt was placed into the lower left corner of the net for her team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Portland scored its second of the night from a counter-attacking play. After Nadim sent in a low-driven cross from the right wing that deflected off a Flash defender, Christine Sinclair took a touch and her left-footed shot struck the left post and went into the back of the net in the 37th minute. With her goal, Sinclair has now recorded a point in seven-consecutive games dating back to 2-0 win against Chicago on June 22, extending her team record. Just before halftime, Tobin Heath’s strike from outside the 18-yard box forced goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo into a save.
Second-half substitute Dagny Brynjarsdottir upped Portland’s lead to 3-0, with what would be the game-winning goal in the 69th minute. After midfielder Tobin Heath played the Iceland international through on goal, her right-footed strike from inside the penalty area beat an onrushing D’Angelo and found its way into the back of the net. The assist was Heath’s ninth of the year, which ranks first in the NWSL this season.
Down 3-0, Western New York (8-6-5, 29pts) threatened late in the match after forward Jess McDonald headed in defender Liz Eddy’s cross in the 77th minute to cut the lead to two. Three minutes later, McDonald found forward Lynn Williams, whose shot beat goalkeeper Michelle Betos in the 80th minute to set up a wild finish. In stoppage-time, a long-range shot from Williams forced Betos into an acrobatic tip save over her left post to preserve the win.
Following the international break, Thorns FC close out the 2016 NWSL regular season on the road against Sky Blue FC on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Yurcak Field; kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (Pacific) with a live web stream at www.thornsfc.com.
Portland Thorns FC (11-3-5, 38pts) vs. Western New York Flash (8-6-5, 29pts)
Sept. 11, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Western New York Flash 0 2 2
Portland Thorns FC 2 1 3
POR: Nadim (Penalty Kick), 27
POR: Sinclair, 37
POR: Brynjarsdottir (Heath), 69
WNY: McDonald (Eddy), 77
WNY: Williams (McDonald), 80
WNY: Hinkle (Caution), 27
POR: Heath (Caution), 58
POR: Betos (Caution), 71
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Betos, D Klingenberg, D Menges, D Sonnett, D Reynolds, M Henry, M Long, M Horan (Brynjarsdottir, 67), F Heath, F Nadim (Raso, 60), F Sinclair ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Franch, D Williamson, M Shim, M Johnson, F Weber
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Nadim, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Five players tied, 1); FOULS: 10 (Four players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 2
WNY: GK D’Angelo, D Hinkle (Hamilton, 79), D Kennedy (Sanderson, 64), D Dahlkemper, D Eddy, M Erceg ©, M Zerboni, M Mewis, F Doniak (Smith, 58), F Williams, F McDonald
Substitutes Not Used: GK Rowland, D Niemiec, M Speck, M Hahn
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Williams, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Williams, 3); FOULS: 12 (Eddy, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referees: Arienne McDonald, JJ Blodgett
4th Official: Jason Perlewitz
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.