BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Advancing to their fourth consecutive NWSL Playoffs, Portland Thorns FC were unable to overcome a first-half deficit, falling 1-0 on the road in the semifinals to the Chicago Red Stars in front of 9,218 at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
2019 Season In Review
Thorns FC concluded the 2019 campaign after qualifying for the NWSL Playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, while also making their sixth postseason appearance in seven seasons. Portland finished with 11 wins during the regular season, recording its fourth straight season with 11 or more wins and its sixth season overall with double-digit victories.
Andressinha, Elizabeth Ball and Dagny Brynjarsdottir earned their first career starts in the NWSL Playoffs in the match against Chicago. It marked Andressinha and Ball’s second career playoff appearances after both players made their playoff debuts in 2018 for Thorns FC. For Brynjarsdottir, it was her fourth career playoff appearance with Portland and her first postseason appearance since the 2017 NWSL Championship.
On the counter-attack, Chicago opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Yuki Nagasato dribbled down the middle of the field and played the ball into space down the right side for Sam Kerr, who delivered a strike into the bottom left corner of the goal from just inside the box.
Portland came close to leveling the match in the 49th minute. Christine Sinclair surged up field to the top of the box and played well-weighted pass to Tobin Heath making a late run into the box. Heath nutmegged Casey Short along the end line and fired a shot from a tight angle near the left post, forcing a save by Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
In the 63rd minute, Sinclair played the ball out wide on the right side to Hayley Raso, who dribbled down the end line past Short and unleashed a shot at the right post, but Naeher was able to push the point-blank attempt away.
Meghan Klingenberg came up with a key defensive play in the 73rd minute. A cross from the left side was played into the center of box for Kerr, who turned and delivered a shot from the edge of the six-yard box, but Klingenberg slid across to block the attempt.
In the 80th minute, Vanessa DiBernardo unleashed a curling strike from the right wing headed for the top left corner of the goal, but Adrianna Franch dove to her right at full extension to push the ball wide of the goal.
Searching for the equalizer, Brynjarsdottir picked up a loose ball just outside the box and lobbed a pass into the box for Midge Purce, who sent a powerful shot from close range on target, but Naeher made another save in the 83rd minute.
In the 88th minute, Lindsey Horan fought to win the ball just outside Chicago’s box, turned and delivered a long-range attempt that went just wide of the left post.
In second-half stoppage time, Kerr received a pass from Nagasato near the penalty spot and slotted a low shot toward the left corner of the goal, but Franch made a foot save to deny Kerr, redirecting the ball just past the left post.
- Heath and Sinclair appeared in their ninth career playoff match for Thorns FC. They are the only two players to appear in every playoff match in club history.
- Heath and Sinclair have appeared in more NWSL playoff games than any other players in the league.
- Andressinha, Ball and Brynjarsdottir made their first career playoff starts for Portland.
- Franch made her seventh career playoff appearance, which is the most among goalkeepers in league history.
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars – NWSL Semifinal
Oct. 20, 2019 – SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, Ill.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 0 0
Chicago Red Stars 1 0 1
CHI: Kerr (Nagasato), 8
POR: Ball (caution), 45+1
POR: GK Franch, D Ball (Raso, 46), D Sonnett, D Menges, D Reynolds, D Klingenberg (Foord, 81), M Horan, M Brynjarsdottir, M Andressinha (Purce, 67), F Sinclair ©, F Heath
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Carpenter, M Ogle, F Crnogorcevic
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Heath, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Heath, Purce, 1); FOULS: 14 (Four players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 3
CHI: GK Naeher, D Gorden, D Ertz, D Davidson, D Short, M Brian, M Colaprico, M McCaskill (Naughton, 76), M DiBernardo, M Nagasato, F Kerr
Substitutes Not Used: GK Boyd, D Elby, D Goralski, M Stanton, M Sánchez, F Johnson
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Kerr, ); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Feist, 1); FOULS: 9 (Thomas, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 2
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referees: Brooke Mayo, Kali Smith
4th Official: Lukasz Szpala
Weather: Partly cloudy, 65 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial