Thorns FC remain unbeaten with 2-1 win over Washington

Thorns FC got goals from forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Nikki Washington to lead Portland to a third consecutive victory with a 2-1 win against the Washington Spirit.

and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made six saves as Portland Thorns FC earned their third consecutive victory with a 2-1 win against the Washington Spirit on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,011 fans at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.

Match Notes:

  • With a goal on Saturday, forward Alex Morgan has earned at least a point in three straight matches.
  • Midfielder Meleana Shim made her NWSL debut for Portland, earning her first start of the season.
  • Defender Jazmyne Avant made her NWSL debut, entering the match as a 64th minute substitute for injured defender Nikki Marshall.
  • All three of Portland’s road games have been witnessed by sellout crowds.

Here’s a few quick thoughts on the match:

  • Portland has a defense too. While much of the talk about Thorns FC has to do with their offensive talent (and for good reason obviously), Coach Cindy Parlow Cone has her club playing some solid defense. Washington forced keeper Karina LeBlanc to come up with six saves, but to be honest, none of those really ever challenged the veteran.
  • Speaking of defense, Rachel Buehler played her best match of the season. It took a few matches but we got a glimpse of the Rachel Buehler we’re used to seeing with the United States Women’s National Team. The ‘Buehldozer’ was everywhere and was a big factor in spearheading a defense which rendered Washington’s attack pretty futile in the final third.
  • Unsung hero: Allie Long. I mentioned it in another post, but I’m waiting for the league to partner with Opta Stats or someone similar, because I’d love to see the passing stats and heat map for Allie Long. Yeah, she can be a dodgy tackle sometimes and seems on the brink of getting a yellow card every match (she’s the Thorns Diego Chara maybe). However, Long makes the right pass almost 100% of the time and yesterday she had another stellar effort.

Quotable: 

Head coach Cindy Parlow Cone
On forward Alex Morgan being the team’s focal point:
“Alex is a true professional in every sense of the word. She may be a young player, but she’s wise beyond her years and she understands the position she is in and has embraced it. She has been great for our team and great for this game. We’ve been to Kansas City and Chicago and everywhere we’ve been people are shrieking Alex’s name.”

On Washington’s defense:
“They’re a fantastic team. Their backline is very good with Robyn Gayle, Tori Huster, Ali Krieger and Hodak with Ashlyn Harris in goal. That’s a very strong back line. In front of them having (Lori) Lindsey and Julia Roberts, that’s tough to play against. I said it before the game that that’s going to be a tough block to break down because they are a very good defensive team.”

On Portland’s defensive pressure forcing miscues:
“We’re sorting out our defensive pressure. We want to be a high-pressing team and we saw moments of it tonight. The one turnover we were able to get a goal on was Nikki Washington’s in the second half (while Morgan hit the post after a turnover in the first half).”

Match Stats:

Portland Thorns FC (3-0-1, 10pts) vs. Washington Spirit (0-2-2, 2pts)
May 4, 2013 – Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)

Goals by Half              1         2        F
POR                              1          1         2
WAS                             0          1         1

Scoring Summary
POR – Morgan (penalty kick)                       12
POR – Washington (unassisted)                  51
WAS – Matheson (penalty kick)                   86

Misconduct Summary
WAS – Harris (caution)                       13
POR – Long (caution)                        70
POR – Edwards (caution)                   82

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall (Jazmyne Avant, 64), M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long (Courtney Wetzel, 83), M Meleana Shim (Danielle Foxhoven, 90+3), M Nikki Washington, F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan

Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Sinclair, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Sinclair/Morgan, 2); FOULS: 7 (Edwards/Shim, 2); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 6

WAS: GK Ashlyn Harris; D Domenica Hodak (Jazmyne Spencer, 75), D Robyn Gayle, D Tori Huster, D Ali Krieger, M Lori Lindsey (capt.), M Diana Matheson, M Ingrid Wells (Tiffany McCarty, 46), M Julia Roberts, F Caroline Miller, F Stephanie Ochs

Substitutes Not Used: GK Chantel Jones, D Candace Chapman, D Kika Toulouse, M Colleen Williams, M Lupita Worbis

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (McCarty, 2); FOULS: 7 (Hodak, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3

Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referees: Shannon Poplstein, Danielle Chesky
Fourth Official: Hagan Barnett
Attendance: 5,011
Weather: 66 degrees, clear and breezy

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

Match Highlights:

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1 thought on “Thorns FC remain unbeaten with 2-1 win over Washington

  1. I didn’t get to see much of the match; by the time I joined the feed the Spirit were down two and pushing forward, so the character of the game was very different. I understand that the first half was a much more even affair with Portland perhaps a little more the better side. Still, I thought that Portland was as much fortunate as good to come away with three points; Washington’s goal was a bizarre seeing-eye grounder that seemed likely to be deflected, saved, or go wide at any moment.

    And Avant seems to have the yips; she pretty much gave the PK by getting turned by a run along the Portland endline – which is how the Pilots scored their goal back in March, too. She needs to work on keeping her position; we can’t assume that the other NWSL teams can’t afford to scout us…

    But otherwise I agree; this looked like a solid outing and confirms the Thorns FC place among the quality in the league.

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