Britt Eckerstrom, Newcastle Jets, 1.29.18
(Newcastle Jets)

Thorns FC Abroad | Portland players help their W-League sides qualify for the playoffs

In the penultimate week of regular season action, three more Portland Thorns FC players have earned their place in the W-League postseason with results in Round 13.

Caitlin Foord, Emily Sonnett and Sydney FC punched their tickets to the W-League Playoffs Friday night, as the Sky Blues held on for a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. Foord, who earned a start in the match, found herself in much of the action throughout the game, consistently putting pressure on goal.

Just three minutes into the match, the 23-year-old forward send a cross into the box from the left side. The ball, deflected on a header, found its way into the path of 16-year-old Taylor Ray who settled it before taking a left-footed strike and scoring the game's opening goal in her W-League debut. Sydney doubled their lead at the 30-minute mark on a ball that deflected off the crossbar, before heading to the break with a 2-0 lead. Melbourne found their way back into the game with a headed corner at minute 49 but were unable to sink another in the match, forfeiting points at home. Sonnett entered the game at the 53-minute mark as a substitution for Caitlin Cooper and closed out the match with Foord.

With the win, the Sky Blues remain undefeated in their last eight games, secure their seventh win of the season and hold steady in second place behind Brisbane Roar with 22 points.

Foord also received plaudits this week as the W-League celebrated their first decade of existence with announcing a Team of the Decade that included the young attacker calling her a "show-stopper since her 2010 debut."

The following day, Hayley Raso, Celeste Boureille and Brisbane Roar made sure to keep pace with Sydney FC, as they also nabbed a win with 4-2 decision over Adelaide United. Raso and Boureille were each named to the starting lineup and played the duration of the match. Boureille connected for 51 passes during the match and created two chances, while Raso paced the Roar with an early goal.

With just under 20 minutes elapsed, Raso and Allira Toby connected for a one-two give-and-go, sending the Portland Thorn racing toward goal down the left side of the field. Raso brushed the ball to her dominant side as Adelaide goalkeeper, Sara Willacy, came off her line before Raso booted the shot over Willacy's near shoulder and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Down 2-1 in the 74th minute, Raso again helped her side to another tally. This time, the 23-year-old winger dropped a cross into the heart of the box which was deflected by the goalkeeper, before Toby converted the mishandled ball for the equalizer. An own-goal and a stoppage-time chip inside the last 10 minutes led to a 4-2 final line, maintaining Brisbane's perfect record on the road as well as their first-place standing.

Sunday afternoon, Britt Eckerstrom and the Newcastle Jets nabbed their sixth win of the season as Katie Stengel bagged a brace and Emily van Egmond earned a hat-trick over Ashleigh Sykes' Canberra United in a 5-1 blowout. Eckerstrom and Sykes each played a full 90 in the match and with the result, Newcastle secures a playoff berth, staying within two points of second-place Sydney FC. Canberra, however, fails to capitalize on fourth-place Melbourne City's bye and must better the defending champs' result in the final round next week in their match with Brisbane Roar, to snag the final playoff slot.

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