SANDY, Utah – Following a FIFA international break, Portland Thorns FC returned to action with a road match against Utah Royals FC, falling 1-0 on the road in front of 10,897 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday night.
The 1-0 loss against Utah marked Portland’s first defeat since Aug. 7, snapping a three-game winning streak. It was also the first time since Aug. 7 that Thorns FC (10-4-6, 36pts) did not tally a goal and just the fourth time this season Portland was held scoreless. Thorns FC remain in first place in the NWSL standings and will play three of their final four regular-season matches at home.
In the 19th minute, Midge Purce received a pass just outside the box; Utah stepped in and made the tackle, but the ball popped out and landed for Christine Sinclair, who sent a strike from distance that went just over the crossbar.
Continuing to search for a goal, Sinclair played a short pass near the edge of box back to Lindsey Horan, who attempted to place a shot into the top right corner of the goal, but Utah goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart dove to her left to punch the ball wide of the target in the 22nd minute.
In the 28th minute, Dagny Brynjarsdottir came running to the edge of the six-yard box, connecting with a header off a corner kick from Tobin Heath, sending her attempt off the crossbar.
Utah took the lead off a short corner kick in the 36th minute. Christen Press served a cross from the left wing to Becky Sauerbrunn making a run down the left side of the box and she directed a header inside the right post.
In the 40th minute, Portland had consecutive scoring chances on a corner kick. Heath delivered a driven ball to the left post that was flicked on by Sinclair, but Barnhart made a quick reaction save at the goal line. Hayley Raso got the second touch with another header near the goal line, but Rachel Corsie cleared the ball away near the Utah’s goal line.
Thorns FC came close to leveling the match in the 55th minute. Emily Menges collected a ball that was initially cleared by Royals FC on the corner kick, chipping the ball into the box. Horan stayed with the play and re-directed the ball with a header from close range toward the right post, but Barnhart dove to her left at the last second to push the ball out for a corner kick.
Continuing to search for the equalizer, Ellie Carpenter sent a cross into the box from the right wing and Purce connected, directing a shot from the edge of the six-yard box that went just wide of the right post in the 60th minute.
In the 77th minute, Emily Sonnett was sent off after she was shown a second yellow card for a foul just past midfield on Amy Rodriguez.
Deep in second-half stoppage time, Heath served a free kick from the deep left wing that was blocked near the edge of the box. Meghan Klingenberg pounced on the bouncing ball and sent a curling strike just wide of the right post.
Facing a quick turnaround, Thorns FC return to the Rose City to play host to the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Providence Park. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be broadcast on Yahoo! Sports.
- Klingenberg and Katherine Reynolds both appeared in their 19th match of the season, which is the most games played by any Thorns FC player this season.
- Horan made her 70th career appearance for the club. She is the sixth player to appear in at least 70 matches for Thorns FC.
- Portland finished the match with a 20-7 advantage in shots.
- Thorns FC limited Utah to just three shots on target in the match. It marks the second straight match Portland has surrendered three or fewer shots on goal.
- Both Heath (6) and Sinclair (5) had more chances created in the match than Utah as a team.
Portland Thorns FC (10-4-6, 36pts) vs. Utah Royals FC (9-6-4, 31pts)
Sept. 6, 2019 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 0 0
Utah Royals FC 1 0 1
UTAH: Sauerbrunn (Press), 36
POR: Sonnett (caution), 61
UTAH: Corsie (caution), 65
POR: Sonnett (ejection), 77
UTAH: Rodriguez (caution), 78
POR: Horan (caution), 80
POR: GK Franch, D Carpenter (Reynolds, 75), D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Brynjarsdottir, M Horan, M Sinclair ©, F Raso (Lussi, 87), F Purce (Foord, 67), F Heath
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Ball, F Crnogorcevic, F Charley
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Horan, 9); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Horan, 4); FOULS: 10 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: 2
UTAH: GK Barnhart, D Bowen, D Corsie, D Sauerbrunn ©, D Weber, M LaBonta, M Scott, M Boquete, F Rodriguez, F Stengel (Jonsdottir, 73), F Press
Substitutes Not Used: GK Smith, D Vincent, D Miramontez, D Maemone, D Nolf, M Tymrak
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Press, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 12 (Stengel, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 6
Referee: Ismir Pekmic
Assistant Referees: Kali Smith, Melissa Gonzalez
4th Official: Jordan Downs
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial