The Portland Thorns (3-1-2, 11pts.) defeated the Houston Dash (1-5-0, 3pts.) for the second time this season, as Jessica McDonald scored a 57th minute goal to give the Thorns the 1-0 victory in front of 3,951 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Both teams struggled in the first half, giving away several chances to their opponent. Despite having 5 shots on goal, including three from Christine Sinclair inside the penalty area, none of the shots were on goal, while the Dash had 4 shots, with Nadine Angerer forced to make 3 saves under Dash head coach Randy Waldrum high-pressure offence.
The Thorns looked to come out strong in the second half, but it was the Dash who got the first opportunity, earning a penalty kick in the 48th minute after a handball was called against Nikki Marshall after a headed free kick near midfield hit her shoulder. Kaylyn Kyle stepped up to take the kick, Angerer guess correctly, easily stopping the poorly hit kick.
The penalty kick save seemed to be the break they needed to step up their game, and less than 10 minutes later and they got the only goal they needed, as Angie Kerr found Jessica McDonald inside the 6 yard box off a poor clearance by the Dash defense, and the striker easily tapped the ball past goalkeeper Erin McLeod, netting her 4 goal of the season, one more she scored all of last season.
While both sides had plenty of chances to score, the McDonald goal was the only one they needed. The Thorns totaled 13 shots, including 7 on goal, all in the second half, while the Dash finished with 9 shots, 7 on goal.
McDonald finished with a season-high 6 shots (3 on goal), while Sinclair had 4 (2 on goal) and Jessica Jackson led the Dash with 3 shots (2 on goal).
Angerer earned her second clean sheet of the season and second against the league's first expansion side, while making 7 saves, while Erin McLeod made 6 saves for the Dash.
The victory returns the Thorns to 2nd place in the NWSL season with 11 points, 6 of those coming against the Dash. Houston will make their only appearance in Portland on August 3.
The Thorns will next take the pitch against Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash make their first of two appearances at Providence Park on Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00pm PDT.