PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Behind a first-half brace from midfielder Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC earned their first road win of the season, defeating Sky Blue FC 2-0 in front of 2,418 fans at Yurcak Field on Saturday night.
With the win, Thorns FC (4-1-3, 15pts) are now unbeaten in their last six games (3-0-3), and have earned at least a point in their last three road games (1-0-2). Additionally, Portland recorded its league-leading fifth clean sheet of the season.
Starting the match on the front foot, Thorns FC created several scoring chances in the opening 15 minutes, including a close-range strike from Mallory Weber that forced a diving stop by Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, before Horan opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a diving header off a free kick from Nadia Nadim to put Portland in front, 1-0.
Horan tallied her brace with just minutes remaining in the first half, becoming the seventh different player in Thorns FC history to record a multi-goal game. Building the attack, Nadim delivered a well-weighted pass into space for Meghan Klingenberg making a run down the left side. Klingenberg delivered a pinpoint cross to the near post for Horan surging into the box and she poked the ball just inside the post to double Portland’s lead in the 42nd minute.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch recorded five of her six saves in the second half, helping Portland record its second straight clean sheet, and its second clean sheet in its last three road matches. For Franch, it was her eighth career clean sheet with Thorns FC, making her the club’s all-time career leader.
Pushing to get back into the match, Sky Blue FC was awarded a penalty kick after Weber was whistled for a foul in the box in the 56th minute. Sarah Killion stepped to the spot, sending a shot towards the right corner, but Franch dove to her left to make to save. It marked the second time this season Franch has saved a penalty kick after denying Sam Mewis from the spot in a road match against the North Carolina Courage on April 22.
Franch made two additional critical saves in the second half. First denying Kelley O’Hara from point-blank range with a kick save in the 49th minute. In the 69th minute, Franch again reacted quickly to a close-range header by McKenzie Meehan, tipping the shot over the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
With a FIFA window from June 5-13, Thorns FC and the NWSL will take an international break. Portland will return to action, playing host to Sky Blue FC on Saturday, June 17, at Providence Park. The June 17 match kicks off at 7 p.m. (Pacific) with a live, high-definition web stream at www.NWSLSoccer.com and www.go90.com.
- Portland is unbeaten in its last six matches (3-0-3) and has earned at least one point in three straight road games (1-0-2).
- Thorns FC recorded their fifth clean sheet of the campaign, which leads the NWSL this season.
- Midfielder Lindsey Horan scored her first goal of the season, while Nadia Nadim registered her first assist of the campaign on Horan’s first goal.
- Four of Horan’s seven career goals for Portland have been game-winning goals, which now ties her for the fifth-most game-winning goals in Thorns FC history.
- Horan is the seventh different Thorns FC player to record a multi-goal game, registering her first career brace for Portland. In addition, she is the fifth different player to score a brace in a road match.
- Horan has scored three goals in two career games against Sky Blue FC.
- Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch saved her second penalty kick this season in the match, also saving a penalty kick taken by the North Carolina Courage’s Sam Mewis in a match on April 22.
- Franch became the club’s all-time career leader in shutouts, recording her eighth career shutout in the match.
- With Horan’s brace, it marks the second straight season a Portland player has recorded a brace on the road against Sky Blue FC. Allie Long tallied a brace in a 3-1 win on Sept. 25, 2016 at Yurcak Field.
- Thorns FC recorded their third straight win against Sky Blue FC, outscoring Sky Blue FC 7-2 in those three matches.
- Defender Emily Menges and forward Christine Sinclair both surpassed 6,000 career minutes played to become the second and third players to reach this mark for Thorns FC.
- Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir made her first appearance of the 2017 season in the match.
Portland Thorns FC (4-1-3, 15pts) at Sky Blue FC (4-4-1, 13pts)
June 3, 2017 – Yurcak Field (Piscataway, N.J.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 2 0 2
Sky Blue FC 0 0 0
POR: Horan (Nadim), 20
POR: Horan (Klingenberg), 42
NJ: Mills (Caution), 20
POR: Horan (Caution), 59
POR: Cox (Caution), 77
NJ: O’Hara (Caution), 89
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Franch, D Boureille, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Long (Cox, 62), M Henry, M Horan, F Nadim, F Weber (Brynjarsdottir, 66), F Sinclair © (Johnson, 89)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, F Raso
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Horan, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Horan, 2); FOULS: 12 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6
NJ: GK Sheridan, D Tiernan (Galton, 67), D Pearce ©, D Freeman, D Mills (Corboz, 80), M Rodriguez, M Killion, M Hayes (Meehan, 60), M Lytle, M O’Hara, F Kerr
Substitutes Not Used: GK Casey, D Richardson, M Stanton, F DeCesare
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Kerr, Rodriguez, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Rodriguez, 2); FOULS: 8 (Mills, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, Tom Felice
4th Official: Lorant Varga
Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.