The Portland Thorns and Sky Blue FC met at Jeld-Wen Field in a game that was labeled must-win for both teams. Though the Thorns were putting on the early pressure, SBFC got the first goal. In the 17th minute Alex Morgan was called for a foul, and the free kick by Katy Freels deflected off Nikki Marshall's head and into Karina LeBlanc's net.
The goal came against the run of the play, and the frustrated Portland players briefly struggled to re-establish their rhythm. Finally, in the 36th minute, Rachel Buehler brought the ball out of the back and passed to Meleana Shim in the midfield. With a perfectly weighted pass, she sprung Morgan, who outran SBFC's defense and put her shot away to bring the Thorns level.
The second half began with the Thorns controlling possession, but Sky Blue looking dangerous on the counterattack. In the 54th, LeBlanc made a huge stop on Monica Ocampo. The next few minutes looked rough for the Thorns as Morgan, frustrated with the physical defending, lashed out and earned herself a yellow in the 56th. Just a minute later, Lisa De Vanna came in for SBFC.
In the 65th the Thorns got their feet back under them. SBFC goalkeeper Jillian Loyden made two big stops on Morgan, but Shim cleaned it up with a nice volley past the keeper to give the Thorns the lead. They put the game out of reach in the 73rd, with a beautiful goal by Allie Long, a curler from the top of the 18-yard box right into the top corner.
It was a familiar scoreline, but this time it would stick, as the Thorns maintained much better organization on defense and closed the game out while conceding only a couple of chances to SBFC. With the win, the Thorns sit in 2nd place, one point behind FC Kansas City and with a game in hand.