thorns fc

Seattle rains on Thorns 5-0

Portland remains in a playoff spot with three matches left
July 27, 2014

SEATTLE - The Portland Thorns took a big league thumping from Northwest rival Seattle, but it didn't disrupt the team's regular-season mission of reaching the playoffs.

Portland conceeded three goals over the final 45 minutes in a 5-0 loss against Seattle Reign FC at Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium in front of 5,597 fans on Sunday afternoon.

Portland (8-7-6, 30 pts) remains in third place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings with a two-point advantage on both the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars (28pts) with three matches remaining on the 2014 regular-season schedule. The top four teams qualify for the NWSL playoffs.

Reign FC (14-1-4, 46 pts) scored the opening goal in the fourth minute of the match. Seattle quickly switched the point of attack to find forward Sydney Leroux making a run down the left side into the penalty box. Leroux dribbled to the end line before cutting it back with a shot to the near post that snuck under Thorns FC goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.

Portland pressed in search of an early equalizer and came close in the 19th minute when Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo mishandled the ball in the box with pressure coming from forward Alex Morgan. Forward Christine Sinclair was there to collect the loose ball in the box, cutting around the diving Solo, but was unable to convert as a Seattle defender stepped in front to clear Sinclair’s attempt away at the goal line.

Angerer kept the match close with a big save on forward Nahomi Kawasumi from point blank range in the 35th minute after an initial shot by Leroux hit the crossbar.

Seattle doubled its lead five minutes before halftime as midfielder Kim Little delivered a cross from the left for Kawasumi, who connected with the header near the penalty spot.

Trailing 2-0, Portland was unable to rally from the deficit as Reign FC increased its lead to 3-0 four minutes into the second half. Little picked out Kawasumi in the box as she hit the ball off the bounce with the inside of her foot back towards the left post for the finish. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe headed in Kawasumi’s cross from the right flank at the back post in the 57th minute, while Little tallied Seattle’s fifth goal in stoppage time, dribbling into the box and finishing from close range.

Thorns FC had two chances late in the match. Midfielder Verónica Boquete saw her header hit off the crossbar in the 75th minute, while defender Nikki Marshall’s header from close range missed just high in the 76th minute.

Portland returns to the Rose City to play host to the Houston Dash on Sunday at Providence Park. Sunday’s nationally televised match, sponsored by Providence Health & Services, will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific).


Thorns begin prep for playoffs

Defending NWSL champs are still battling to reach third place
July 30, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

With just three games left in the regular season, the Portland Thorns are anything but a playoff favorite as they were a season ago. The defending NWSL champions might not qualify for the playoffs to start, then will likely be a significant underdog to win two games and reclaim their championship trophy.

Sunday is a key date for the team's playoff hopes as the Thorns play host to Houston at Providence Park. The game is set for a 7 p.m. start and will be televised by ESPN2.

Portland enters the game at 8-7-6, 30 points, and is in fourth place in the nine-team league. With three weekends remaining in the season, they're in great shape to qualify for the four-team playoffs as they're two points ahead of Chicago, which has a tougher remaining schedule.

The Thorns will face the bottom two teams in the league, but close the season against Seattle, which has already clinched the top record in the league. Seattle obliterated Portland 5-0 in their most recent match Sunday, and won the first meeting 1-0, May 10.

Following Sunday's match with Houston (5-11-3, 18 points), Portland plays at Boston (4-13-2, 14 points), Aug. 10. The season closes at home against Seattle (15-1-4, 49 points), Aug. 17.

The league playoffs will be played the final two weekends of August, with the final on Aug. 31.

Currently, the Thorns are in fourth place, which would send them to Seattle for the semifinals, but they're just one point behind third-place Washington (9-8-4, 31 points). The Spirit have three games remaining, one of which is also against Seattle. Another is against Chicago, which is fighting to finish in the top four.

Last season, Portland tied for the top spot in the league with at 11-6-5, 38 points, in 22 games, then beat Kansas City and Western New York in the league playoffs. If it reaches the playoffs again, Portland would be the lone team to play in the playoff through the first two years of the league's history.



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