Playing their third game in an eight-day span, Portland Thorns FC finished the match with a 24-13 edge in shots and forward Christine Sinclair registered her league-leading fifth goal of the season, but Portland was unable to overcome an early two-goal deficit, falling 2-1 to the Orlando Pride in front of 17,115 fans at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon.
With a goal in Saturday’s match, Sinclair has tallied a goal or an assist in six of Portland’s first eight matches this season, recording five goals and three assists. Sinclair has scored in two of Thorns FC’s three home matches this season and has scored in consecutive matches against Orlando. Sinclair registered the game-winner in a 2-1 win over the Pride on April 15 at Providence Park.
Defender Emily Menges made her season debut, starting and logging 45 minutes in the match. Defender Ellie Carpenter made her second appearance of the season, earning her first career start for Portland and logging 82 minutes in her first match at Providence Park.
Portland created its first scoring opportunity of the match in the seventh minute on a set piece. Midfielder Tobin Heath delivered a curling corner kick into the center of the box and midfielder Lindsey Horan jumped and directed a header on frame from close range that took a deflection off an Orlando player. Forward Mallory Weber pounced on the rebound, sending her shot off the crossbar and she then converted the rebound, but the goal was disallowed as Weber was ruled offside.
Orlando took an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when forward Alex Morgan pounced on a misplayed clearance by Thorns FC inside their goal box and converted into the bottom, left corner of the goal. The Pride doubled their lead in the 21st minute as midfielder Christine Nairn settled a clearance off her chest and hit a volley from long range into the back of the net.
Thorns FC answered to make the score 2-1 in the 23rd minute as Sinclair tallied her league-leading fifth goal of the season. Rising above multiple defenders, Sinclair got on the end of a corner kick from Heath, sending a powerful header from close range into the back of the net.
Portland nearly leveled the match in the 27th minute when Heath forced a diving stop by Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris on a knuckling shot from the edge of the box. Harris spilled the ball back into the box and in an attempt to kick the ball away nearly cleared the ball off a Pride player into the back of her own net.
In the 41st minute, midfielder Andressinha switched the point of attack, playing the ball from the right side to the left to find Heath running into the box. Heath waited for the ball to bounce up to her and hit a swerving shot, forcing Harris to push the ball over the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
Thorns FC had a second goal waved off in the 47th minute when Andressinha played a perfectly weighted through ball into the box for Horan running towards goal. Horan and Harris both made a play on the ball and collided inside the box. The ball popped loose for midfielder Midge Purce, who converted from close range, but the goal was disallowed because Horan was called for a foul.
Remaining on the front foot to start the second half, Heath dribbled down the left side of the box and quickly cut the ball back onto her right foot, sending a curling strike towards the top right corner of the goal, but Harris made a diving save to push the ball out for a Thorns FC corner kick in the 52nd minute.
Andressinha narrowly missed the game-tying goal in the 60th minute after receiving a pass from Heath at the top of the box. Andressinha lined up her shot and sent a well-placed strike just wide of the right post.
Heath nearly scored directly from a corner kick as she bent her shot inside the right post, but Orlando defender Carson Pickett jumped and headed the ball off the underside of the crossbar in the 80th minute.
Portland returns to the road, travelling to square off against the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 20, at Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. The May 20 match kicks off at 4 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live web stream available at www.go90.com and on the go90 app.
Portland Thorns FC (2-3-3, 9pts) vs. Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12pts)
May 12, 2018 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Orlando Pride 2 0 2
Portland Thorns FC 1 0 1
ORL: Morgan, 11
ORL: Nairn, 21
POR: Sinclair (Heath), 23
ORL: Pickett (caution), 64
POR: Andressinha (caution), 65
POR: Sinclair (caution), 76
ORL: Weatherholt (caution), 83
POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Menges (Hubly, 46), D Weber (Onumonu, 64), M Purce, M Andressinha, M Horan, F Carpenter (Lussi, 82), F Sinclair ©, F Heath
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gay, D Ball, M Boureille, F Crnogorcevic
TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (Andressinha, Heath, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Heath, 3); FOULS: 11 (Andressinha, 4), OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 5
ORL: GK Harris ©, D Krieger, D Monica, D Zadorsky, D Pickett, M Nairn (Weatherholt, 72), M Kennedy, M Pressley (van Egmond, 64), F Edmonds, F Morgan, F Hill (Leroux, 81)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kopymeyer, D Poliana, F Marta, F Ubogau
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Morgan, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Morgan, 3); FOULS: 14 (Five players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 5
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Ryan Jung
4th Official: CJ Koll
Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial