ORLANDO, Fla. – Returning from the international break, Portland Thorns FC extended their unbeaten streak to five games and recorded their 11th shutout of the season, earning a point on the road with a scoreless draw against the Orlando Pride in front of 7,353 fans at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Thorns FC (13-5-5, 44pts) shut out the Orlando Pride (10-6-7, 37pts), who entered the match having scored a league-high 42 goals, and surrendered just two shots on target for the entire match, while allowing no shots on goal in the final 45 minutes. It marked Portland’s third consecutive shutout as Thorns FC have established a streak of 270 minutes without conceding a goal, dating back to Sept. 2 in a 4-0 win over the Washington Spirit. In addition, Portland became just the third team to shut out the Pride at home this season and the only team to register multiple shutouts in 2017 against Orlando.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch posted her league-leading 11th shutout of the season, registering two saves in the match, as she established a new NWSL single-season record for shutouts, surpassing FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who recorded 10 shutouts in 2013. Franch made a pair of stops on attempts by Orlando forward Alex Morgan in the first half, snagging a lobbed shot off the bounce in the 12th minute, while diving to parry away a dipping, powerful strike from distance in the 35th minute. In addition, Franch reacted quickly to come off her line to stop Morgan in a potential one-on-one situation from close range in the 24th minute, beating Morgan to a ball played in over the top by forward Chioma Ubogagu and clearing the ball out of the box.
With the draw, Portland has now earned at least a point in four of its last five road games (3-1-1), while posting its second straight shutout on the road after picking up a 1-0 win against the Boston Breakers on Sept. 10.
Midfielder Tobin Heath returned to action for the first time for Thorns FC since the 2016 NWSL playoffs, entering the match as a second-half substitute in the 60th minute. Heath logged 30 minutes in the match, helping to spark the Portland attack late in the match in search of a goal. In the 65th minute, forward Hayley Raso was able to win the ball just outside the box after Orlando was unable to clear Portland’s free kick. Raso slotted the ball off to Heath, who dribbled towards the end line before sending a pass back towards the top of the box for midfielder Amandine Henry, but her shot went just wide of the target.
Thorns FC created several additional scoring opportunities in the first half as Raso helped create a pair of chances. In the eighth minute, the Australian international intercepted a pass out of the backline by defender Monica. Dribbling towards the center of the goal, Raso quickly cut back and fired a shot from inside the box, but Monica tracked back to block the attempt. Near the end of the first half, forward Ashleigh Sykes split a pair of Orlando defenders with her dribble and found Raso with a quick slip pass near the edge of the box. Raso laid the ball off to Sykes making a run into the box and she delivered a shot from point-blank range, forcing a kick save by Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. The ball bounced back towards the empty goal, but Monica recovered clearing the ball off the goal line.
Portland will wrap up the regular season at Providence Park on Sept. 30 before playing host to a home playoff match for a second straight season on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Lifetime. Tickets for the Thorns FC home playoff match are on sale now and can be purchased online here or by calling (888) 736-6849. 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).
Up next, Thorns FC return to the Rose City to square off against the Chicago Red Stars at Providence Park in their regular-season finale on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific) as the featured NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.
- Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch set the NWSL single-season record for shutouts, recording her 11th clean sheet of the campaign, breaking the previous record set by FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart (10) in 2013.
- Franch is one of just two goalkeepers (Nicole Barnhart) in NWSL history to register double-digit shutouts in a season.
- Portland has not allowed a goal in 270 consecutive minutes, recording its third straight shutout, including back-to-back shutouts on the road after earning a 1-0 win at Boston on Sept. 10.
- Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last five matches (4-0-1). It marks Portland’s third streak of four or more games unbeaten this season and its second-longest unbeaten streak in 2017.
- Midfielder Tobin Heath made her 2017 debut in the match, entering the match in the 60th minute.
- Portland has picked up at least a point in four of its last five road matches, posting a mark of 3-1-1.
- Thorns FC are the only team in the NWSL to shutout the Pride twice in 2017, and just the third team to earn a clean sheet against Orlando at Orlando City Stadium.
- Portland improved to 3-0-1 all-time against Orlando with a pair of shutouts.
Portland Thorns FC (13-5-5, 44pts) at Orlando Pride (10-6-7, 37pts)
Sept. 23, 2017 – Orlando City Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 0 0
Orlando Pride 0 0 0
POR: Long (caution), 18
ORL: Edmonds (caution), 69
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Franch, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Long (Henry, 60), M Horan, M Sinclair ©, F Sykes, F Raso, F Nadim (Heath, 60)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Boureille, M Brynjarsdottir, F Weber, F Jordan
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Five players tied, 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Sykes, 1); FOULS: 17 (Long, 4); OFFSIDES: 7; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 2
ORL: GK Harris ©, D Edmonds (Pressley, 78), D Monica, D Krieger, D Catley (Spencer, 50), M Kennedy, M Weatherholt, M Camila, F Ubogagu, F Morgan, F Marta
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bledsoe, D Driesse, M Evans, F Spencer, F Hill, F Fields
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Morgan, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Morgan, 2); FOULS: 7 (Krieger, Morgan, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 1
Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Trent Vanhaitsma
4th Official: Francesco Terranova
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 86 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial