Returning home after three consecutive road matches, Portland Thorns FC rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second half behind goals from Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair to earn a point and a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Red Stars in front of 18,631 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night. Thorns FC scored twice in a nine-minute span as Heath recorded her fourth goal of the season and Sinclair equalized for Portland in the 69th minute with her eighth goal of the 2018 season.
With three matches remaining on the regular-season schedule, Portland (9-6-6, 33pts) remains in third place with only four points separating third and sixth place in the NWSL standings. Thorns FC have a two-point lead over Chicago in fourth place and a three-point advantage over the Orlando Pride in fifth place. In addition, Portland now holds head-to-head tiebreakers with the Pride and Red Stars as well as Utah Royals FC and the Houston Dash, which are tied for sixth place with 29 points.
Portland is unbeaten in its last 14 matches (6-0-8) against the Red Stars. With the draw, Thorns FC improved to 8-1-8 all-time against Chicago, including a mark of 4-1-3 at Providence Park. Notably, Sinclair has 10 goals in 16 career matches against the Red Stars, including three goals in three matches in 2018.
Heath scored her fourth goal of the season in the match and also added an assist. The assist was the 20th of her Thorns FC career, making her the first player to reach this milestone in club history. Heath has recorded an assist in three consecutive matches, while recording two goals and four assists in her last five appearances for Portland.
Portland generated its first scoring chance of the match in the 19th minute. Earning a free kick on the far right wing, Heath delivered a ball that curled toward the penalty spot. Lindsey Horan was able to create separation and put a header on target, but Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made the save.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead just before the end of the first half. Sam Kerr helped create a turnover near midfield and the Red Stars quickly played the ball to Kerr running in behind the Thorns FC backline. Kerr dribbled into the box and fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal in the 44th minute.
Meghan Klingenberg recorded the first scoring opportunity for Thorns FC to begin the second half. In the 46th minute, Chicago was unable to clear the ball and gain possession. Klingenberg pounced on the ball just near the edge of the box and sent a low, hard strike that skipped just wide of the left post.
The Red Stars doubled their lead in the 49th minute as Kerr tallied her second goal of the game. Chicago worked the ball down the right flank with Casey Short playing a short pass to Vanessa Di Bernardo, who played the ball into the box for Kerr and she deposited a header inside the right post.
Portland pulled a goal back in the 60th minute as Heath tallied her fourth goal of the season. Naeher came off her line to punch a ball served into the box from the right wing by Ellie Carpenter. Heath charged forward and directed a powerful header into the back of the net.
Pushing for the equalizer, Sinclair leveled the match for Thorns FC in the 69th minute. On the counter-attack, Heath dribbled down the right side of the field and played a cross into the center of the box. Caitlin Foord made a well-timed run across the box, but let the ball roll through for Sinclair, who converted a sliding shot off the underside of the crossbar for her eighth goal of the season.
Adrianna Franch helped Portland earn the point with a save in second-half stoppage time. With Chicago pushing for a goal late in the match, Di Bernardo unleashed a long-distance strike, forcing Franch into full extension as she dove to her left to push Di Bernardo’s shot off the post.
Facing a quick turnaround, Thorns FC play host to Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Providence Park. The Aug. 22 match kicks off at 8 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live web stream available at www.nwslsoccer.com and on the NWSL app.
Portland Thorns FC (9-6-6, 33pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (7-4-10, 31pts)
Aug. 18, 2018 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Chicago Red Stars 1 1 2
Portland Thorns FC 0 2 2
CHI: Kerr (Nagasato), 44
CHI: Kerr (Di Bernardo), 49
POR: Heath, 60
POR: Sinclair (Heath), 69
POR: Sonnett (caution), 67
POR: White (caution), 81
POR: GK Franch, D Carpenter, D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Boureille (Andressinha, 56), M Horan, M Raso (Purce, 77), M Sinclair ©, M Heath, F Crnogorcevic (Foord, 56)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Ball, F Lussi, F Weber
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Sinclair, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 10 (Crnogorcevic, Horan, 3), OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 5
CHI: GK Naeher, D Gilliland, D Ertz ©, D Naughton, D Short, M Brian (Colaprico, 46), M Di Bernardo, M Stanton (White, 80), F Nagasato, F Kerr, F Mautz (Vasconcelos, 88)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Boyd, D Gorden, D Elby, F Green
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Kerr, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Kerr, 3); FOULS: 9 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 2
Referee: Malik Badawi
Assistant Referees: Joshua Haimes, Jennifer Garner
4th Official: Jason Perlewitz
Weather: Sunny, 83 degrees