SANDY, Utah – Portland Thorns FC battled Utah Royals FC to a 1-1 draw in front of 8,446 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night. Midfielder Tobin Heath recorded her first goal of the season, while forward Christine Sinclair registered her second assist of 2018 as Portland came from behind to extend its unbeaten run to four games.
Saturday marked the first match between Thorns FC and Utah Royals FC. With the draw, Thorns FC are now 5-1-1 against NWSL teams in their first season. The two teams will play each twice more this season, as Portland will host the Utah at Providence Park on May 25 and July 6.
Thorns FC debut
Midfielder Andressinha made her Thorns FC debut, playing 26 minutes as a second-half substitute.
Searching for a goal, Thorns FC nearly scored when midfielder Celeste Boureille got on the end of midfielder Lindsey Horan’s delivery from a corner kick, striking her shot inches past the near post in the 20th minute. Continuing the attack down the left flank, defender Meghan Klingenberg’s delivery picked out forward Ana Crnogorcevic, whose header flashed wide past the near post in the 32nd minute.
Four minutes later, Horan’s header from inside the box was cleared off the line by a Utah defender.
Registering an 11-5 shot advantage in the match, Thorns FC began the second half on the front foot when Klingenberg’s service from a set-piece picked out Horan in the center of the box. Horan’s header forced Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith into a strong save in the 50th minute.
Utah Royals FC took a 1-0 lead three minutes later when forward Amy Rodriguez dribbled around Thorns FC goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom and slotted her finish into the back of the net in the 53rd minute.
Looking for an equalizer, Sinclair’s shot from the edge of the box was fired over the crossbar in the 63rd minute. Two minutes later, Horan’s swiveling effort in the center of the penalty area just missed the target.
Thorns FC leveled the match in the 67th minute when Andressinha dispossessed a Utah player in her own half. Sinclair recovered the ball outside the edge of the 18-yard box, delivering a pass into the path of Heath that split the Utah backline. Taking a touch inside the box, Heath chipped the ball into the back of the net over an onrushing Smith to tally her first goal of the season. Sinclair registered her team-leading second assist of 2018.
After Horan recovered the ball in midfield, she played the ball to Andressinha, whose effort from 30-yards away missed the target in the 78th minute.
- Heath registered her first goal of the 2018 season.
- Sinclair tallied her team-leading second assist of 2018. With her assist, Sinclair has registered a point in four consecutive matches.
- Klingenberg led all players with four chances created.
- Crnogorcevic made her first start of the 2018 campaign, playing 57 minutes and registering one shot.
- With the draw, Thorns FC have earned at least a point in five of their last six road matches (3-1-2).
- With the draw, Thorns FC are now 5-1-1 against NWSL teams in their first season.
- With tonight’s result, Portland is now 9-1-6 during the month of April over the last five seasons.
Next up, Portland returns home to play host to Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, May 5, at Providence Park in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Portland Thorns FC (2-1-2, 8pts) vs. Utah Royals FC (0-1-4, 4pts)
April 28, 2018 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 1 1
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
UTA: Rodriguez, 53
POR: Heath (Sinclair), 67
POR: Purce (Caution), 36
UTA: Jonsdottir (Caution), 49
UTA: Scott (Caution), 85
POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Purce, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Hubly, D Klingenberg (Onumonu, 65), M Boureille (Andressinha, 64), M Sinclair ©, M Horan, F Weber, F Crnogorcevic (Heath, 57)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gay, D Ball, D Carpenter, F Lussi
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Horan, Sinclair, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Horan, 2); FOULS: 6 (Horan, 2), OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 0
UTA: GK Smith, D Miramontez, D Sauerbrunn ©, D Corsie, D Moros, M Matheson (Gorry, 62) , M Jonsdottir, M Scott, M Thorsnes, M O’Hara (Ratcliffe, 80), F Rodriguez (Stengel, 56)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Barnhart, D Elby, M Bowen, M Tymrak
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Rodriguez, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Rodriguez, 1); FOULS: 8 (Jonsdottir, Thorsnes, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 1
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Shane Kennard, Ian McKay
4th Official: Brad Jensen
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial