PORTLAND, Ore. – In their final home match of the 2019 season, Portland Thorns FC recorded their eighth clean sheet of the campaign with a scoreless draw against the Washington Spirit in front of 24,521 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night. Thorns FC will travel for a road match against the Chicago Red Stars in the semifinals of the NWSL Playoffs on Sunday, Oct. 20; kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. (Pacific), with a national television broadcast on ESPN2.
Thorns FC in the playoffs
Portland (11-6-7, 40pts) secured the third seed in the NWSL Playoffs after Reign FC earned a 2-2 draw on the road against the Orlando Pride. Thorns FC return to the postseason for a fourth consecutive season, while also earning their sixth playoff berth in seven NWSL seasons. Portland will play on the road in the semifinals for the first time since 2014. Additionally, it marks the first time Thorns FC and the Red Stars will square off in postseason play.
Thorns FC finished the regular season with double-digit wins for the sixth time in seven seasons. Portland earned at least 11 wins for a fourth consecutive season. As a team, Thorns FC tallied 40 goals during the regular season, which is tied for the most goals in a single season in club history. Defensively, Portland recorded its eight clean sheet of the season in its match against Washington, which is the second-most shutouts in a single season. Individually, 12 different players scored a goal for Portland during in 2019, while 10 players tallied at least one assist.
Portland nearly took the lead in the ninth minute of the match. Washington’s Sam Staab attempted to head the ball back to goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and Christine Sinclair pounced on the bouncing ball, directing a shot from inside the box just wide of the right post.
Thorns FC generated consecutive chances in the 39th minute. Meghan Klingenberg delivered a looping cross into the box from the left wing and Sinclair volleyed the ball out of the air, but Bledsoe came off her line to block the attempt. The ball landed for Lindsey Horan, who unleashed a powerful strike from inside the box, but Bledsoe came charging forward and made the save with her chest.
In the 49th minute, Sinclair dribbled down the right side of the box and slotted a pass to Andressinha, making a run to the edge of the six-yard box. Andressinha fired a low, hard shot from close range, forcing a point-blank save by Bledsoe.
Pushing for a goal, Elizabeth Ball received a pass on the right side just outside the box and played a ball to Tobin Heath, who sent a header from close range wide of the right post in the 57th minute.
Heath came close to giving Portland the lead in the 84th minute. Heath sent a curling strike from the top of the box on the left side toward the upper right corner of the goal, but Bledsoe jumped and tipped the ball over the crossbar.
On the counter-attack, Sinclair won the ball with a header near midfield and played the ball to Heath, who surged down field to the edge of the box. She played a well-weighted pass to Midge Purce running down the right side of the box, but her shot from close range went wide of the target in the 88th minute.
Up next, No. 3 Thorns FC travel for a road match against No. 2 Chicago Red Stars in the semifinal round of the NWSL Playoffs on Sunday, Oct. 20, at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be broadcast on ESPN2.
- The match featured the second-largest crowd (24,521) in Thorns FC history.
- In 12 home matches this season, Portland set a new NWSL record for total (241,181) and average attendance (20,098).
- Thorns FC had five games with attendance of more than 20,000 fans in 2019.
- Portland finished the regular season with 11 wins, marking the sixth time in seven seasons the club has earned 10 or more wins. Additionally, Thorns FC have posted 11 or more wins in four consecutive seasons.
- Thorns FC recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season, including their sixth at Providence Park in 2019. The team’s eight shutouts overall rank as the second-most in a single season.
- Portland extended its unbeaten streak at home against Washington to 10 games (6-0-4).
- Emily Ogle made her first professional start in the match, logging 64 minutes.
- Midge Purce was named Supporters’ Player of the Year.
Portland Thorns FC (11-6-7, 40pts) vs. Washington Spirit (9-8-7, 34pts)
Oct. 12, 2019 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 0 0
Washington Spirit 0 0 0
POR: GK Franch, D Ball (Purce, 75), D Sonnett, D Menges, D Reynolds, D Klingenberg, M Horan (Foord, 78), M Ogle (Brynjarsdottir, 64), M Andressinha, F Sinclair ©, F Heath
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Pogarch, F Crnogorcevic, F Charley
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Heath, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Horan, 2); FOULS: 8 (Horan, Heath, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 1
WSH: GK Bledsoe, D Huster, D Nielsen, D Staab, D McGrady (DiBiasi, 45), M Sullivan ©, M Bailey, M Feist, M Pugh (Logarzo, 45), F Hatch, F Thomas (Dougherty Howard, 81)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Yanez, D Harrison, F Ship, F McCarty
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Feist, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Feist, 1); FOULS: 7 (Thomas, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 5
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Deleana Quan, Melissa Gonzalez
4th Official: Jason Perlewitz
Weather: Cloudy, 57 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial