Portland Thorns FC overcame an early two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw on the road against the Chicago Red Stars Saturday night at the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex in Lisle, Ill. in front of 2,136 fans. Forward Christine Sinclair scored midway through the first half to cut the deficit in half, before midfielder Mana Shim equalized early in the second half. Playing on the road for the first time this season, Portland (2-0-1, 7pts) remains unbeaten after three matches and sits atop the NWSL standings.
After Christen Press had given Chicago (1-0-1, 4pts) a 2-0 lead with a brace inside 10 minutes, Sinclair pulled one back in the 29th minute with her first goal of the season. Gathering a pass from midfielder Allie Long at the top of the box, Sinclair created just enough space to slot the ball perfectly into the lower left corner. With both forwards Alex Morgan and Jodie Taylor missing through injury, Sinclair led the line for Portland, playing the full 90 minutes. Sinclair’s 16th goal for the Thorns, and fourth against Chicago, moves her into top spot on the all-time scoring list for Portland. Long is just behind on 15 goals.
Portland came out strong in the second half and leveled the match within two minutes of the restart. Shim picked up the ball near the edge of the 18-yard box, after has a shot blocked, and rifled a shot inside the right post to tie the game at 2-2 in the 47th minute. The goal marked Shim’s second of the season.
Portland nearly tallied their first goal of the match in the 11th minute, with two quick-fire chances cleared off the line. Midfielder Tobin Heath broke down the right flank and crossed to midfielder Taylor Comeau at the far post, but her first-time shot was saved by Red Stars goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. Shim met the rebound, but her goal-bound effort was headed away by Chicago defender Julie Johnston.
The Thorns were inches from victory in the 74th minute, but midfielder Sinead Farrelly’s long-range effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar and clear. In the end, Portland out shot Chicago 11-8, forcing LeBlanc into six saves, while Thorns keeper Nadine Angerer made three saves. Portland also held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The result is the fifth-straight tie between the two clubs and the Thorns remain unbeaten when visiting the Red Stars, earning a 2-0-3 record. Long surpassed former Thorn Nikki Marshall on the all-time appearances list for Portland with her 47th appearance, also becoming the first Thorn to play over 4,000 minutes. Comeau earned her first start for Portland, becoming just the second amateur to start for the Thorns.