ALLSTON, Mass. – Portland Thorns FC clinched a home playoff game for a second consecutive season, earning a 1-0 win on the road against the Boston Breakers in front of 3,015 fans on Sunday evening at Jordan Field. Forward Christine Sinclair helped Portland secure the win, tallying the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute.
With the win, Portland will host an NWSL semifinal at Providence Park on Saturday, Oct. 7. Tickets for the semifinal match will go on sale to the public on Monday, Sept. 18, at 12 noon (Pacific). Fans can purchase tickets by calling (888) 736-6849 or online here. Additionally, tickets are available at the Providence Park box office, which is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sunday and Monday). Additional information including kickoff time and broadcast details will be announced at a later time.
Thorns FC (13-5-4, 43pts) kept pace with the first-place North Carolina Courage (45pts) with just two games remaining in the regular season. Portland heads into the final two weeks of the regular season riding a four-game winning streak, having won eight of its last nine games, including three of its last four matches on the road.
Against the run of play and searching for a goal late in the second half, forward Hayley Raso dribbled at the Boston back line looking to spark an attack for Thorns FC. The Australian international made a move to dribble around a pair of Boston defenders and the ball was deflected and popped loose for Sinclair making a late run inside the box. Sinclair pounced on the bouncing ball and calmly delivered a well-placed shot from the right side of the box into the far left corner of the net, registering her team-leading eighth goal of the season, to give Portland a 1-0 lead in the 72nd minute.
Thorns FC created several scoring chances in the opening half as a result of set pieces. In the 24th minute, defender Meghan Klingenberg curled a corner kick towards the right post for midfielder Allie Long making a run into the box. Long was able to get a head to the ball, sending her shot just wide of the near post. In the 37th minute off a quick restart, defender Emily Sonnett delivered a free kick from the far right wing to the left post, finding midfielder Lindsey Horan, who directed a header on frame, but Boston goalkeeper Abby Smith was able to make the save.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made two key stops in the first half to keep the match scoreless, recording consecutive saves in the 42nd and 43rd minute. Franch reacted quickly with a point-blank save on a close-range header by forward Natasha Dowie in the 42nd minute. Less than a minute later, Boston midfielder Rosie White dribbled down the left side of the box and fired a shot from inside the box towards the near post from a tight angle, but Franch covered the post and parried the shot out for a corner kick.
Portland recorded its 10th clean sheet of the season in the match as Franch recorded four saves to earn her 10th shutout of the campaign, tying the NWSL single-season record for shutouts set by FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in 2013. Additionally, Thorns FC established new single-season club records for regular-season wins (13) and points (43).
The NWSL will take a league-wide break for international matches during the September FIFA window, spanning Sept. 11-19. Thorns FC will return to action after the conclusion of the break on the road against the Orlando Pride on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Orlando City Stadium in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific).
- Forward Christine Sinclair scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season. It equals the mark for Sinclair’s highest goal-scoring total with Thorns FC set in 2013.
- Portland established new single-season club records for regular-season wins (13) and points (43).
- Sinclair claimed sole possession as Portland’s all-time leading goal scorer, tallying her 31st career NWSL goal.
- Sinclair has tallied three goals in her last two matches and six goals in her last 12 matches for Portland.
- Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch registered her league-leading 10th shutout of the campaign, tying the NWSL single-season record for shutouts set by FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in 2013. Additionally, it was the 20th career NWSL shutout for Franch.
- Portland is unbeaten in its last six matches against the Breakers (5-0-1), including its last three matches on the road (2-0-1).
- Thorns FC have won four straight games, including eight of their last nine matches.
- Portland has won three of its last four road matches.
Portland Thorns FC (13-5-4, 43pts) at Boston Breakers (3-12-7, 16pts)
Sept. 10, 2017 – Jordan Field (Allston, Mass.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
Boston Breakers 0 0 0
POR: Sinclair, 72
BOS: Oyster (caution), 82
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Franch, D Boureille, D Sonnett, D Reynolds, D Klingenberg, M Henry, M Horan, M Sinclair, F Raso, F Long (Brynjarsdottir, 90+2), F Nadim (Weber, 75)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Johnson, F Jordan
TOTAL SHOTS: 3 (Three players tied, 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Horan, Sinclair, 1); FOULS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 4
BOS: GK Smith, D Purce, D Oyster, D King ©, D Chapman, M Elby (Lavelle, 56), M Salem, M Leon, M White, M Weimer (Onumonu, 67), F Dowie (Stengel, 71)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Prudhomme, D Frisbie, D Dowd
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (White, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Dowie, 2); FOULS: 9 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Amilcar Sicaju
4th Official: Alexandria White-Gillies
Weather: Partly cloudy, 66 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.