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NWSL Challenge Cup Recap: Portland Thorns 0, OL Reign 0
Bragging rights is at stake for the Pacific Northwest rivals in group stage finale of the NWSL Challenge Cup.
Although Portland is eliminated from the NWSL Challenge Cup, that does not eliminate the bragging rights at stake for this game.
OL Reign would have their largest crowd of the season of over 12,061. This would be their club record for regular season and cup.
Mike Norris would not change up his usual lineup in which would have seemed to be a good chance for the young players to play. The Portland Thorns head coach opted to prepare for the regular season coming back up. He did give Shelby Hogan the start and Izzy D’Aquila to rest Bella Bixby and Morgan Weaver (only played 15 minutes).
Shelby Hogan and the defense did enough on the road to preserve the clean sheet and get the result. The scoreless draw was a welcomed sign for the backline.
The first half was dominated by OL Reign who created the better of the chances. They hit the crossbar on several occasions and spent most of the time in the Thorns half. Portland struggled to maintain any type of cohesive possession and creation of chances.
In the second half, both teams could not grasp control of the game. Chances were few and scarce. OL Reign continued to earn chances throughout the half. They wrestled control and were very unlucky not to score.
Portland never gained any rhythm or traction and the Reign took advantage throughout the match. Their defense was up to the challenge. They clogged up the middle, pressured the midfielders, and caused havoc all game.
This was a game OL Reign should have won without the intervention of the post on several occasions.
The World Cup window is officially over and Portland Thorns look to get back all of their internationals except maybe Hina Sugita. They would end up winning one match in all competitions out of the six (1-4-1). They are tied for 2nd in the NWSL table with their reinforcements coming home.
xG: Portland Thorns - 0.41, OL Reign 1.19
3’ Shelby Hogan comes up big! She denies Tziarra King.
7’ Olivia Moultrie with the first shot for Portland, but it sails too high.
13’ Balcer’s header goes over the bar
25’ Latsko’s shot hits the crossbar
37’ Izzy D’Aquila collects the pass and rips a shot. She just can’t get it quite on frame.
62’ Shelby Hogan with yet another clutch save, this time on Elysse Bennett.
63’ Substitutions - Meaghan Nally, Natalie Beckman, and Alyssa Walker for D’Aquila, Vasconcelos, and Menges.
69’ Gabby Provenzano on for Taylor Porter. She showed some very good skills in her last appearance.
79’ First corner earned for Portland Thorns
80’ Morgan Weaver comes on for Hannah Betfort
90’ - 5 minutes of stoppage time
90” +5 | Game ends 0-0