Behind a second-half goal from defender Ellie Carpenter, Portland Thorns FC extended their road-unbeaten streak to four straight matches with a 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit at Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night. Carpenter tallied her first career goal for Thorns FC in the 68th minute to become the youngest goal-scorer in NWSL history.
Saturday’s win marked the 10th road win for Portland since 2016, which is tied for the most road wins in the NWSL during that span. With the result, Thorns FC extended their road-unbeaten streak to four consecutive matches. Notably, Thorns FC have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight (4-1-3) road matches, while Carpenter became the fifth different player to tally a goal on the road this season.
Scoring the game-winner in the 68th minute, Carpenter tallied her first career goal for Portland. She is the sixth different player to register a goal for Thorns FC this season. Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom recorded her first career win with Portland, making four saves, and earned her first career clean sheet for the club. Additionally, forward Ana Crnogorcevic tallied her first assist for Portland in the match.
With the win, Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last four matches against the Spirit (3-0-1). Portland improved to 8-2-5 all-time against Washington, including a mark of 3-2-2 on the road. It marked Thorns FC’s first win on the road against the Spirit since 2014.
Sustaining a spell of possession, Thorns FC built from the back and sent the ball out wide on the left flank to defender Meghan Klingenberg surging down the field. Klingenberg delivered a curling cross into the center of the box that was cleared by a Washington defender, but midfielder Midge Purce settled the ball near edge of the box and hit a volleyed shot that went just over the crossbar in the 18th minute.
Midfielder Andressinha helped start a counter for Portland by creating a turnover in midfield. Crnogorcevic picked up the loose ball and sent a through ball into space for midfielder Tobin Heath making a run in behind the Spirit’s backline. Heath cut the ball back onto her right foot and sent a shot from inside the box towards goal, forcing a save from Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe in the 21st minute.
Searching for a goal early in the second half, Heath received a pass from midfielder Lindsey Horan out wide on the right side. Heath dribbled forward and delivered a cross into the middle of the box that took a deflection. Horan collected the loose ball and sent a pass in to forward Christine Sinclair in front of the goal and she fired a shot from close range, but Washington defender Whitney Church slid at the last second to block the attempt in the 51st minute.
Portland had a clear-cut penalty kick that was not given in the 62nd minute. Klingenberg played a long ball down the left side of the field that deflected off a Washington player and Purce chased down the ball. Racing towards goal, Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan came in from behind and crashed into Purce inside the box, but the penalty was not given.
Carpenter, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, scored her first career goal for Portland – the game-winner – as she started the attack in the 68th minute. After playing the ball off to Horan, who delivered a long pass out wide to find Heath running down the right side, Carpenter sprinted from midfield all the way into the box and finished from close range at the left post, converting a low, hard cross from Heath in the 68th minute.
Eckerstrom finished the match with four saves, including a critical save in second-half stoppage time, diving to her left to stop a long-range shot attempt from Sullivan.
Up next, Thorns FC return to the Rose City to play host to Utah Royals FC on Friday, May 25, at Providence Park. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific), the match against Utah features a live web stream available at www.go90.com and on the go 90 app.
Portland Thorns FC (3-3-3, 12pts) at Washington Spirit (1-5-2, 5pts)
May 19, 2018 – Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 0 1 1
Washington Spirit 0 0 0
POR: Carpenter (Crnogorcevic), 68
POR: Horan (caution), 84
POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Reynolds, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Andressinha (Boureille, 72), M Horan, M Purce (Carpenter, 64), M Sinclair ©, M Heath, F Crnogorcevic (Lussi, 81)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gay, D Hubly, F Weber, F Onumonu
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Heath, Sinclair, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Carpenter, Heath, 2); FOULS: 9 (Horan, Reynolds, 2), OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4
WSH: GK Bledsoe, D Smith, D Quinn, D Church ©, D Dydasco, M Dougherty Howard (Eubanks, 76), M Sullivan, M Huster, F Pugh, F Hatch (Ordega, 58), F Banini (Lohman, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Wys, M Proffitt, M Solaun, F Aedo
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Hatch, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Fours players tied, 1); FOULS: 9 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
Referee: Guido Gonzales Jr.
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Skinner, Benjamin Wooten
4th Official: Gary Gutierrez
Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees