The Portland Thorns won on Sunday, 4-0 against the Chicago Red Stars. This win comes off the back of a 2-1 loss at Houston on May 12 and draws to the North Carolina Courage and Angel City FC the two weeks prior. With the win, Portland is now 3-0-2 at home and seeded second in the NWSL overall standings.
It was an overcast day at Providence Park that saw the Portland Thorns open the floodgates early for their offense. The first goal of the game came at 7:18. Sam Coffey, off a free kick, would send the ball inside the box towards the far post. Kelli Hubly would reach the ball before it touched the ground and cross it to the opposite post. Her redirect was perfect, as the ball would jump past the Chicago goaltender, Alyssa Naeher, and skip over the line. Hubly would earn her second career goal as a Portland Thorn, and give the Thorns the early 1-0 lead.
The Thorns’ pressure was becoming a problem very quickly for the Chicago Red Stars. While possession was an even 50% at halftime, the Red Stars had numerous turnovers in their defensive half. Those turnovers gave Portland’s offense time to attack, and they were making the most of their opportunities.
In the 14th minute, Portland would strike again. Olivia Moultrie would move inside the box, and pass the ball outside to Hina Sugita. Sugita would fake going back inside, and gain an outside edge on her defender. Sugita would then send a low rolling pass leading to a one-timer chip shot from Crystal Dunn just above the Goal Area line. Dunn’s shot would beat Naeher to the center of the net, and put the Thorns up 2-0.
Portland gave no time for Chicago to recuperate after scoring goal number two. Just two minutes later, Dunn would gather possession just outside the box with space to work with. She shifted outside, then delivered a perfect centering pass for Olivia Moultrie on the goal area line. Moultrie would redirect the ball off a bounce, and sneak the ball underneath the diving goalkeeper to give Portland a 3-0 lead.
Portland’s second half started off just as strong as their first. Just 2:56 into the half, Sam Coffey sent a perfect ball across the box to the back post. Natalia Kuikka was able to move up and connect on the pass, with a header into the top corner of the net. Kuikka’s goal was her first of the season, and gave the Thorns a 4-0 lead.
Chicago’s offense never quite found their footing in the second half. Despite a handful of chances, including a shot off the post at 65:02, the Red Stars couldn’t register a shot on goal. One major reason why was because of Portland’s bench. Substitutes such as Reyna Reyes, Christine Sinclair, and Michele Vasconcelos all saw plenty of action and helped hold the line against the Red Stars. Portland’s defense would hold a shutout and earn goalkeeper Bella Bixby her third clean sheet of the season.
The Thorns’ next match is an away game against the San Diego Wave FC on Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m.