Portland Rain defender Shauna Kruger heads in the 8th goal in the 83rd minute. Photo by Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback
GLADSTONE, OR - With the season coming to end, the Portland Rain (5-3-2, 17pts.) looked to end the season on a high note. They did exactly that. Facing a hapless Eugene Metro FC (3-5-2, 11pts.), the Rain opened up the match by scoring 2 goals in the 1st half. before adding 6 in the second.Portland was in control of the game from the onset. In the 6th minute Nicole Strong opened up the scoring for the Rain, hitting a left-footed shot for her 5th goal of the season. The game settled down a bit after the goal, with Portland controlling most of the possession, putting Eugene of the defensive, before breaking through again. In the 30th minute Shauna Kruger found Whitney Pitalo in position to find the back of the net for her 4th goal of the season. There was more back and forth for the last 15 minutes of the half, with Portland continuing to look like the stronger side.
Coming into the second half, Portland continued to press on. In the 49th minute off a Shauna Kruger throw-in, Lindsay Bauman hit a shot from 20 yards out in to the bottom corner for her 2nd goal of the season. Not backing down, Amanda Dutra added a goal of her own off a header from a Darcie Gardner cross in the 55th minute, as well as a breakaway goal in the 61st minute that went in off the crossbar, for her 2nd and 3rd goals of the season. Not wanting to be left out, Lindsay Bauman tapped in her second goal off a cross from Kajsa Sporseen.
At this point in the match, Portland looked to let off the pressure a bit, with several substitutions at around the 75th minute. This didn't slow down the scoring though, as a dejected Eugene side couldn't do much with the ball. In the 77th minute Aurora Bodenhamer hit a blast from 25 yards out for her first goal of the season, before Shauna Kruger slammed a header into the back of the net of a corner kick from Nikia Evans in the 83rd minute. With no mercy rule in effect, the teams played out the last few minutes of the match with little action.
- Nicole Strong finished the season with 5 goals, with Whitney Pitalo and Ellie Boon right behind her with 4 and 3, respectively.
- Portland finished 2-2-1 at home and 3-1-1 on the road and a +12 goal differential, with 23 goals scored on 11 allowed.
- While many of the players will return to their respective high schools and colleges in August, while Nicole Strong and Darcie Gardner will be patrolling the sidelines as the coaches of Central Catholic High School varsity girl's soccer team.
- Spokane Shine (6-2-2, 20pts.) edged out Issaquah SC (5-1-4, 19pts) for the Northwest Division crown as well as a berth into the WPSL Playoffs.
- In the next couple of days, I will post a review of the past season as well as potential outlooks for the Rain in the off-season and what to watch for as they move onto next season.
NORTHWEST DIVISION FINAL STANDINGS
- Spokane 6-2-2, 20pts
- Issaquah SC 5-1-4, 19pts
- Portland Rain 5-3-2, 17pts
- Emerald City FC 3-1-6, 15pts
- Eugene Metro FC 3-5-2, 11pts
- Oregon Rush 0-10-0 0pts