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Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 3-2 Chicago Red Stars
The conclussion of the Thorns' three game road ended up being more difficult than what was anticipated.
The Portland Thorns defeated the Chicago Red Stars by a 3-2 margin on Sunday afternoon in Bridgeview. Sophia Smith opened the scoring and Hina Sugita added a second in the second half. Chicago pulled one back in the second half via a PK before Christine Sinclair scored Portland’s third. The Red Stars made it interesting in the end as they scored and pulled within one again, but the Thorns held on for the three points to pull them up into second place in the league standings.
This was the second time Portland and Chicago crossed paths this year. The Red Stars are going through their worst season in the club’s history and it showed in their previous encounter where the Thorns trashed the Red Stars 4-0. The home team is not in a better position nowadays, but they did battle more this time.
Both teams came to this match from a loss but in the case of Portland, they had the chance to claim the first spot of the table if they won the game.
Compared to their previous match against Chicago, the visitors had a slow start and the home team showed a good defensive effort overall. They prevented Morgan Weaver’s crosses and Sophia Smith’s insurgencies inside the box in the first half.
It was Sam Coffey the one who ended up having one of the most clear chances of the first forty-five minutes. She hit the post with a powerful shot five minutes before halftime. But the first half wouldn’t end up with the score even because Smith had other plans in mind.
2’ Sophia gets a good chance but somehow sends the ball out.
13’ That’s our KEEPER! Bella Bixby makes a big save.
14’ Another chance for Sophia but, again, can’t put it in the back of the net.
17’ Portland keeps creating opportunities. This time is Hina Sugita the one who shoots but it is wide.
29’ Yellow card for Sugita.
36’ Oh, that was close! Naeher makes a big save and denies Smith the first goal of the game.
42’ IT WAS ABOUT TIME! Sophia gets in the “What? Is it hard?” mode and singlehandedly manages to score. 1-0 Thorns.
46’ Save! Bixby denies Chicago and saves her goal with her foot.
61’ Substitution: Reyna Reyes gets into the match. Meghan Klingenberg's shift is over.
62’ HINA SUGITA MAKES IT TWO! The Japanese international gets to the end of a great cross by Morgan Weaver.
65’ Scary moment in the game. Bixby miscalculates and collisions with Arin Wright, who has to be carried out on a stretcher. Bella was clearly upset about it.
69’ The Red Stars score from the PK spot. Previously, Bella got a yellow due to the collision with Wright.
77' Double substitutions: Izzy D'Aquila and Olivia Moultrie IN, Smith and Sinclair OUT.
82’ Chicago scores through Schlegel.
89’ DOUBLE SAVE! First, the post denies the Red Stars equalizer and then Natu Kuikka comes up big to block an on-goal shot.
90+5' Substitution: Michele Vasconcelos IN, Weaver OUT
FULLTIME: Chicago 2, Thorns 3.
Portland’s second game against the Red Stars wasn’t easy. They didn’t do themselves any favors by again giving away balls and making unforced errors. Bella Bixby was clearly shaken after the collision with Arin Wright — to whom we send our best wishes— and therefore, that helped the defense to look shaky in the second half.
Congratulations to Emily Menges on her 150 caps, all of them donning the Thorns jersey, and we wish her many, many more.
Shout-out to Captain Christine Sinclair, who keeps breaking records. According to Opta, she has scored 17 goals against the Red Stars in her entire career in the league, four more than any other player against any single team in league history.
The best part of this win is that the three points helped Portland to get to the top of the table again... at least temporarily until since Washington came back from a 0-2 deficit to win 3-2, and now have one more point than Portland.
Hopefully, Portland’s next next game, which happens to be agaisnt against Mark Parsons's new Spirit team — will go better, defensively speaking.
That game is on Friday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. PT at Providence Park.