Portland Thorns FC stayed perfect in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup and on top of the tournament's West Division after tonight's 1-0 victory at the Chicago Red Stars, with Morgan Weaver's second-half goal pushing her team to 2-0-0 in the competition.
Meaghan Nally made her NWSL with a late substitution, Celeste Boureille collected her first assist of 2021, while Adrianna Franch recorded her first clean sheet since the 2019 season.
5' — SHOT (CHI) — The first chance of the game was more of a half-chance, but Makenzy Doniak was able to test Franch. Running onto a throughball after her diagonal run through the Thorns' defense, Doniak pulls up just inside the penalty area to test Franch with a right-footed shot. The ball's driven into the goalkeeper for an easy save.
19' — SHOT (CHI) — Chicago left winger Kealia Watt dribbles into a dangerous spot, but shooting from wide of goal, the Red Star attacker leaves little angle to challenge Franch. Her high shot is easily pushed over the crossbar for a corner.
30' — SHOT (CHI) — Finally, a moment that draws some awes. After Watt breaks down the right side of Portland's defense, her cross ricochets out to Tatum Milazzo, the Red Stars' right back who is luring just beyond the penalty area. After a couple of touches, the defender unloads on a ball that sends Franch diving, though Milazzo's shot curves wide of the left post.
45' — YELLOW (POR) — Not much action in the first half, which makes a moment of worry near halftime standout. Played over the defense and toward the goalline, Watt tracks down a pass and cuts back, getting away from Christen Westphal in the process. The Thorns' right back elects to pull Watt down at the edge of the box rather than give her a lane toward goal. Yellow card.
46' — SUBSTITUTION (POR) — We have our first change. Angela Salem is on for Rocky Rodríguez and will sit in the Thorns' defensive midfield role.
52' — SHOT (POR) — Portland was inches away from the opening goal. Off a ball won in midfield by Salem, Marissa Everett played a long, ball for Tyler Lussi. The Thorns forward elects to take it first time from distance and almost catches the `keeper out, but her shot goes off the crossbar and back into play.
57' — SUBSTITUTION (CHI) — The Red Stars use one of their three chances to make substitutions, refreshing their attack by bringing on Sarah Luebbert for Doniak.
66' — GOAL (POR) — Finally, a breakthrough, and the formula is the same as the Lussi chance. Played long behind the defense by Boureille, Weaver is put in on goal, but she has Chicago defender Casey Krueger on her back. With a touch left, she creates enough room to get her shot off, rolling her chance against the far post and in for the game's only goal.
71' — SUBSTITUTIONS (POR and CHI) — For the first time this season, Emily Menges takes the field for the Thorns, replacing Westphal. Chicago makes two attacking changes, bringing on Rachel Hill and Katie Johnson for Milazzo and Sarah Woldmoe.
80' — SUBSTITUTIONS (CHI) — The Red Stars last changes take two mainstays (Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo) out, with Nikki Stanton and Ella Stevens on for the final push.
83' — SUBSTITUTIONS (POR) — Meaghan Nally, welcome to the NWSL. The former Georgetown Hoya comes on for Everett.
86' — YELLOW (CHI) — Six minutes after coming on, Stevens in the book, with her desperation challenge on Salem catching the Thorns veteran at the ankle, landing the Red Star in the referee's book.
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars - 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup
April 15, 2021 – SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, IL)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
Chicago Red Stars 0 0 0
POR: Weaver (Boureille), 66
POR: Westphal (caution), 45
CHI: Stevens (caution), 85
POR: GK Franch, D Westphal (Menges 71), D Kuikka, D Hubly, D Pogarch, M R. Rodríguez (Salem 46), M Boureille, M Klingenberg ©, M Everett (Nally, 83), F Weaver, F Lussi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, GK Angerer, GK Hogan, M Fitzgerald
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Rodríguez, Everett, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Weaver, 1); FOULS: 9 (Westphal, Hubly, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4
CHI: GK Miller, D Krueger, D Wright, D Milazzo (Johnson, 71), D Gorden, M Colaprico (Stanton, 80), M Gautrat, M Woldmoe (Hill, 71), M Dibernardo (Stevens, 80), F Doniak (Luebbert 57), F Watt
Substitutes Not Used: GK Lowder, D Morse, D Goralski, F Pugh
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Doniak, Johnson, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Doniak, Johnson, 2); FOULS: 10 (Wright, Colaprico, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 0
Referee: Karen Callado
Assistant Referees: Laura Waliski, Art Arustamyan
4th Official: Lukasz Szpala
Weather: Partly cloudy, 50 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
- Portland is unbeaten in its last six matches (5-0-1), including a mark of 2-0-1 on the road.
- Weaver scored her second career professional goal. Both of her goals have come in the Challenge Cup.
- Weaver’s first goal came in a 1-0 win against North Carolina on July 17th, 2020. Both goals served as the lone goal and game winner respectively, and were just minutes apart (68th and 66th minute).
- Boureille tallied the second assist of her NWSL career. It was her first assist since June 15, 2019, when she registered an assist on the road against North Carolina.
- Meaghan Nally made her Thorns FC and NWSL debut, entering the match in the 83rd minute.
- Emily Menges made her season debut in the match, logging 19 minutes as a substitute. It was Menges’ first substitute appearance since July 4, 2014 during her rookie season, which also came against the Red Stars.
- Meghan Klingenberg started and played in her eighth Challenge Cup game. Klingenberg is the only Thorns FC player to start and play in every Challenge Cup game for Portland.
- Weaver, Rodríguez, Christen Westphal, Angela Salem and Tyler Lussi have all played in every Challenge Cup match for Thorns FC.
- Adrianna Franch earned her first clean sheet of 2021, recording five saves in the match.
- Rich Gunney served as head coach for the match due to head coach Mark Parsons’ red card suspension. Gunney was also the head coach for Portland in a road match against Chicago in 2018, earning a 3-2 win on March 31.