The Portland Thorns wrapped up the last of their regular season home games this Sunday with a 3-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars. Portland is now 10-3-8 at home this season, and 2-0-1 against Chicago this season. The win also moves the Thorns into the #1 seed in the NWSL standings, with just one game remaining in their schedule.
On a hot 80-degree day in Providence Park, the Thorns wasted no time applying pressure to the Red Stars. Portland had two solid scoring chances from distance early in the action. At 8:18, Hina Sugita’s shot from the arch would be saved by Chicago goaltender, Alyssa Naeher. Sophia Smith then at 16:45 would have a chance from well beyond the arch that would end up wide of the net.
Chicago’s best scoring chance came at 24:20 when Mallory Pugh had a dangerous chance from well outside the box. Her shot would rise towards the far side of the net. Thorns netminder Bella Bixby had to fully extend to get a hand on the ball and ensure the ball would deflect over the net.
Portland found another gear offensively after that save from Bixby. Portland dominated the time of possession and scoring opportunities until halftime. Sophia Smith had another golden opportunity at 29:00. A seam pass between two defenders left Smith with a near breakaway chance, but her 5-hole shot was denied and cleared away. At 40:25, a Portland corner kick saw a header from Christine Sinclair straight to the hands of Alyssa Naeher. However, no one could find the back of the net and the score at halftime would be tied at zero.
In the second half, the Thorns hit the ground running. Just 2:30 into the second half, Morgan Weaver would get the ball on the outside, and be left one-on-one with her defender. Her left-footed shot would get around her defender, past the goaltender, and inside the far post to put Portland on the board.
Chicago found themselves in even more trouble as the second half continued. Defender Bianca St-Georges would receive a red card at 57:25, leaving the Red Stars down a defender for the rest of the match. Portland would make the most of this opportunity. Just after the 60:00 minute mark, Sophia Smith would find a lane to receive a pass once again. This time, however, she would be able to draw out the goalie and shift the ball over to Morgan Weaver. Her tap-in goal would earn her a brace, and put the Thorns up 2-0.
The Portland offense would find one more goal just before three minutes of stoppage time. Sophia Smith would make a cut at the top of the box to try and find space. A defender would poke the ball away from her, but it would roll right to Taylor Porter. Porter would one time her right foot shot, and would beat Naeher to the far top corner of the net. The crowd would light up once again, and the Thorns would win 3-0 over Chicago.
The Thorns’ last match of the regular season is Oct. 1st, against NY/NJ Gotham FC with first kick scheduled for 1 p.m.