Portland Thorns FC rallied back from a 1-0 deficit, tallying a goal in first-half stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit in front of 14,485 fans at Providence Park on Friday night. Forward Christine Sinclair tallied her fourth goal of the season, converting her second penalty kick of the campaign to help Portland extend its regular-season home unbeaten streak to nine matches.
With the goal, Sinclair has scored in three consecutive matches to begin the 2018 season. In addition, Sinclair has scored four goals in Portland’s last five regular-season home matches, dating back to the 2017 season. Sinclair now has 35 career NWSL goals, which is tied for the third most in NWSL history with Christen Press.
Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom made her Thorns FC debut, earning her first career start with the club. It marked Eckerstrom’s third career NWSL start. Midfielder Tobin Heath made her season debut after missing the first three matches of the season, logging 30 minutes in a substitute role. Despite the additions, Portland was without eight players due to injury or international duty.
Portland improved to 7-2-5 all-time against Washington in the 14th meeting all-time between the two sides. With the draw, Thorns FC remain unbeaten against the Spirit at Providence Park, posting a mark of 5-0-3.
Portland is unbeaten in its last nine regular-season home matches (8-0-1) at Providence Park, outscoring opponents 18-5 during that stretch. Additionally, Thorns FC have scored in 20 consecutive regular-season home matches.
Portland created the first scoring opportunity of the match in the 11th minute. Defender Emily Sonnett served a long free kick from near midfield into the box for midfielder Lindsey Horan making a run towards the left post. Horan settled the ball and played a short pass to forward Lussi near the edge of the goal box, who fired a shot from close range that was saved by Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.
Midfielder Celeste Boureille and Eckerstrom, who finished the match with four saves, made critical stops on the goal line after Washington earned a free kick in Portland’s half in the 26th minute. Thorns FC were unable to clear the initial ball and it dropped to forward Francisca Ordega crashing the goal, but Boureille slid in to knock the ball off the line. Spirit midfielder Tori Huster was able to get a touch and nearly scored but Eckerstrom made a kick save clearing the ball off the goal line.
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute on a corner kick. Eckerstrom jumped to catch the deflection off the kick and was bumped off her line by Ordega. Portland was unable to clear the ball as it bounced around near the goal line and Ordega slid and pushed the ball over the goal line.
Searching for a goal near the end of the first half, Boureille received a pass from Horan and played a quick one-touch pass into the box for forward Ifeoma Onumonu, who split two defenders with her dribble and was fouled, earning Portland a penalty kick. Sinclair stepped to the spot and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to level the match before the whistle.
Pushing for the game-winner, Portland created several scoring chances in the second half, recording a 9-3 edge in shots. Sinclair worked the ball out wide on the left wing to forward Mallory Weber, who quickly played the ball back to Sinclair near the edge of the box. Sinclair turned and curled a cross into the box towards the spot for forward Ana Crnogorcevic, who found space between two Washington defenders and sent a diving header on frame that was saved by Bledsoe in the 80th minute.
Off a cleared corner kick, defender Kelli Hubly collected the loose ball and quickly sent a cross back into the box. Sonnett made a run towards the ball at the right post. Bledsoe came flying off her line and crashed into Sonnett attempting to make a play on the ball and Thorns FC were awarded their second penalty kick of the match in the 86th minute. Horan’s attempt from the spot was saved and bounced back into play. Boureille ran in and directed a powerful header towards goal that went just over the crossbar.
Portland travels for a road match against new NWSL side Utah Royals FC on Saturday, April 28, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The April 28 match kicks off at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live web stream available via the go90 app and at www.go90.com.
Portland Thorns FC (2-1-1, 7pts) vs. Washington Spirit (1-2-1, 4pts)
April 20, 2018 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Washington Spirit 1 0 1
Portland Thorns FC 1 0 1
WSH: Ordega, 37
POR: Sinclair (penalty kick), 45+2
POR: Sonnett (caution), 39
WSH: Bledsoe (caution), 86
POR: Horan (caution), 88
POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Purce, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Hubly, Weber, M Boureille, M Horan, F Onumonu (Heath, 60), F Sinclair ©, F Lussi (Crnogorcevic, 46)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Geist
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Boureille, Horan, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Boureille, 2); FOULS: 13 (Horan, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
WSH: GK Bledsoe, D Smith (Solaun, 89), D Church, D Johnson ©, D Dydasco, M Sullivan, M Dougherty Howard, M Huster (Lohman, 74), F Pugh, F Ordega (Eubanks, 80), F Hatch
Substitutes Not Used: GK Wys, GK Haracic, M Proffitt, F Farquharson
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Ordega, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Ordega, 4); FOULS: 9 (Hatch, Ordega, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 5
Referee: Matt Franz
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Weed, Kelsey Harms
4th Official: Mike Hohnholz
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees