NWSL MATCH RECAP | Portland Thorns FC 2, Seattle Reign FC 3

PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind second-half goals from defender Emily Sonnett and midfielder Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC twice rallied to level the match after trailing but could not overcome a late goal from Seattle Reign FC, falling 3-2 in front of 16,054 fans at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon.

Against Seattle
Saturday’s match marked the 17th meeting all-time between Portland and Seattle. With the loss, Thorns FC are 7-7-3 all-time against Seattle, including a mark of 4-3-2 at Providence Park. In Saturday’s first meeting of the season between the two clubs, Portland registered a season-high 24 shots, including 17 in the second half. In their last two matches against Seattle, Thorns FC have outshot Reign FC 49-16, after registering 25 shots on the road against Seattle on Aug. 26, 2017.

Home form
Portland has scored a goal in 22 consecutive home matches. Saturday’s loss marked Portland’s first defeat at Providence Park since June 17, 2017, snapping a 10-match unbeaten streak. It was just the third regular-season home loss for club since 2016. 

Thorns FC milestones
Horan tallied her 12th career goal for the club, moving up to fifth place on the all-time scoring list with her third goal of the season. Defender Meghan Klingenberg tallied her seventh career assist for the club to claim sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list for assists. 

Key plays
Pressing high up the field, forward Mallory Weber took advantage of a Seattle miscue just outside the goal box. Collecting the loose ball, Weber dribbled down the right side of the box, beating two Reign FC players before cutting back towards the center of goal and firing a shot from close range off the underside of the crossbar in the 18th minute.

Portland nearly took advantage of a miscommunication between Seattle defender Megan Oyster and goalkeeper Michelle Betos in the 29th minute. Betos quickly came off her line to clear the ball near the edge of the box, but Oyster slid a pass across the face of goal into space. Forward Ana Crnogorcevic raced towards the ball as it rolled across the box and had a chance at an open goal as Betos retreated back, sending her shot from a tight angle just wide of the right post.

Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom made a key stop to keep Seattle off the board in the 34th minute. Reign FC served the ball into the box near the penalty spot. Both Sonnett and Seattle midfielder Allie Long jumped to head the ball. Long got a touch, directing a looping header towards goal, but Eckerstrom jumped to tip the ball over the bar and out for a corner kick.

Seattle claimed a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute off a corner kick. Forward Naho Kawasumi delivered a curling kick from the right corner, sending it towards goal for forward Beverly Yanez, who finished from close range with a header.

Searching for the equalizer, Horan pounced on a loose ball bouncing around near the edge of the box and hit a thunderous one-time volley shot off the bounce that hit off the bottom of the crossbar. Horan stayed with the play as the ball bounced back into the box and played a short pass to Crnogorcevic running towards the right post, but Betos dove back across goal to make a last-second save on a close-range shot in the 55th minute.

Thorns FC leveled the match at 1-1 in the 61st minute as Sonnett tallied her first goal of the season, while midfielder Tobin Heath registered her first assist of the campaign. Earning consecutive corner kicks, Heath delivered a pinpoint kick in front of goal for Sonnett, who crashed the goal and knocked the ball into the side netting at the right post.

Seattle reclaimed the lead in the 64th minute after being awarded a penalty kick. Forward Jodie Taylor stepped to the spot and sent Eckerstrom the wrong way, placing a low, hard shot into the bottom left corner of the goal to give Reign FC a 2-1 advantage.

Remaining on the front foot, Portland finished with a 17-7 advantage in shots in the second half. Controlling a spell of possession and working the ball down the left flank, Heath and Klingenberg combined just outside the box. Klingenberg floated a cross into the box from the far left wing to Horan inside the goal box. Horan beat Betos to the ball, sending a header into the back of the net tie the match at 2-2 in the 70th minute.

Thorns FC defender Kelli Hubly saved a goal with a header off the line as Taylor missed from point-blank range in the 74th minute, but moments later, midfielder Rumi Utsugi hit a long-range strike after receiving a pass from defender Steph Catley, placing a shot into the bottom, right corner to put Seattle back in front 3-2 in the 75th minute.

Portland continued to push for the late equalizer, forcing four saves in the final five minutes, while recording seven shots during that span, including a pair of shots near the goal line from Heath, forcing a double save in the 88th minute. Horan had a powerful header on target in the 89th minute that was denied.

Portland Thorns FC (2-2-2, 8pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (3-1-1, 10pts)
May 5, 2018 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
Seattle Reign FC           1          2          3
Portland Thorns FC       0          2          2

Scoring Summary: 
SEA: Yanez (Kawasumi) 36
POR: Sonnett (Heath), 61
SEA: Taylor (penalty kick), 64
POR: Horan (Klingenberg), 70
SEA: Utsugi (Catley), 75

Misconduct Summary:
SEA: Long (caution), 31
SEA: Kleiner (caution), 87


POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Hubly, D Klingenberg, M Purce, M Boureille (Andressinha, 46), M Horan, F Weber (Heath, 46), F Sinclair ©, F Crnogorcevic

Substitutes Not Used: GK Gay, D Ball, D Carpenter, F Onumonu, F Lussi

TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (Horan, 10); SHOTS ON GOAL: 11 (Horan, 4); FOULS: 12 (Crnogorceic, 4), OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4

SEA: GK Betos, D Westphal (Bauer, 74), D Oyster, D McNabb, D Catley, M Fishlock (Andrews, 77), M Long, M Utsugi, F Kawasumi, F Taylor, F Yanez (Kleiner, 71)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Williams, D Barnes, D Nielsen, F Addo

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Three players tied, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Taylor, 3); FOULS: 7 (Long, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 8

Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Seth Martin
4th Official: Chad Stewart
Attendance: 16,054
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial