Portland Thorns Can't Crack Sky Blue FC in 1-0 Loss

Stacey Neve

The Thorns ran out of steam trying to break down the Sky Blue defense.

The Portland Thorns looked in control for much of tonight's 1-0 loss to Sky Blue FC, but as the scoreline suggests, they were unable to break down a solid defensive effort from the New Jersey side.

For much of the First half the Thorns bossed possession, looking like the more likely team to come away with three points. Thanks to the stellar efforts of the Sky Blue FC defenders, however, the Thorns were held scoreless through the first 45', despite a commanding lead in shots taken.

The Thorns' advantage in pressure continued in the third half, with the Thorns coming strong out of the gates. In the 46', Meleana Shim came the closest to actually getting the Thorns on the scoreboard as she took down a bouncing ball at the top of the Sky Blue box and fired off a quick volley that skimmed the top of the crossbar.

The Thorns were not done there,however. As they threw everything at the Sky Blue defense, Christine Sinclair had several good chances to put the Thorns ahead.  In the 62' and 63', Sinclair had two especially beautiful chances on goal, only to be thwarted each time. First she rose above the Sky Blue defense on a curled corner kick to head a strong ball on goal, only to see it blocked off the line by the defender on the post. Next she got off a flying volley from a driven Allie Long cross, but Jill Loyden sprang across the mouth of the goal and snatched the ball from mid to preserve the clean sheet.

Finally, in the 84' the breakthrough came, but it was the embattled Sky Blue who grabbed the go-ahead goal. Off a far out free kick, given up thanks to some tired defending, Sky Blue sent the ball in to the Thorns' back post where Kelley O'Hara was waiting to nod the ball home around Nadine Angerer.

The Thorns threw numbers forward yet again after the goal with a real sense of desperation behind them, but more clear was the team's fatigue. The Thorns looked sluggish by the end of the end of the match, while Sky Blue looked fresh and kept the Thorns under pressure, breaking up their attacks before they could even form.

Finally, the referee blew the whistle, ending the game in a 1-0 loss for the Thorns; their second loss at home this year.

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