Portland Thorns Undefeated Run Over with 1-0 Defeat to Seattle Reign

Chris Brunskill

The Thorns and Reign played each other to a stalemate until the 89th minute, when it all went wrong.

The Portland Thorns gave up a last second goal against the Seattle Reign, leaving the Thorns' Northern rivals with the only remaining undefeated record in the NWSL as they left Providence Park the 1-0 winners. Equally galling was the extension of the Reign's perfect streak of wins to start the season, which now stands at six and leaves them with more than double the points (18) of the Thorns (8).

Much of the game was fought to a stalemate, with both teams pressing forward in turn. Both halves saw exciting chances, but it was in the final minutes, as players across the pitch began to tire after an intense match, that play really opened up.

In the last ten minutes of the match, the Thorns and Reign both had excellent one on one chances to grab the lead. First, in the 81', Jessica Fishlock threaded a ball through the Thorns' defense, picking out an onrushing Beverly Goebel. Goebel was in on goal with only Nadine Angerer to beat, but Angerer stood her ground, getting inside the Reign forward's head as Goebel chipped the ball gently into Angerer's hands for the save.

The Thorns had their own one on one chance in the 87', when substitute Meleana Shim managed to unlock the Seattle defense with a through-ball to Christine Sinclair. Sinclair took one touch and then another before firing a side-footed shot that, on any other night, should have bent around Hope Solo and into the back of the Seattle net. Instead, her shot was right into Solo's chest as the move went wanting.

The scoring was finally opened in the 89', when the Thorns' back line found themselves cycling the ball across the field, keeping it away from the high Seattle press. The ball fell to Rebecca Moros who, without looking, played a pass to the last player back, not realizing that she was the last defender down the pitch. There may not have been a Thorn on hand, but Seattle's Kim Little was more than happy to run onto the pass. With the Thorns' defense well behind her, Little ran in on goal and, in a moment of surprising audaciousness, dribbled around Angerer before slipping the ball into the back of the net for the game's only goal.

When the match ended after three minutes of stoppage time, the Reign were ecstatic, having continued their winning streak and having beaten the team that bossed them up and down the pitch in 2013. The celebrations of the Reign players will certainly stick in the minds of the Thorns and their fans until the two teams meet again at the end of July.

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