The struggling Portland Thorns (2-3-2, 8pts.) saw defensive mistakes once again come back to haunt them, as they fell to the Washington Spirit (3-3-1, 10pts.) 2-1 at the Maryland Soccerplex in front of 3,519 fans Saturday night.
The loss was the first that the Thorns have suffered against the Spirit in seven meetings (4-1-2) and their third consecutive loss this season. The sides will meet again on August 30 at Providence Park.
The Thorns opened the scoring, as Allie Long found Ayo behind the Spirit defense in the 18th minute. Facing goalkeeper Kelsey Wys 1v1, Ayo was easily able to slot it past her for her first goal in a Thorns' kit.
The lead wouldn't last long.
For the third time this season, the Thorns gave up two goals in quick succession, as Amanda Da Costa netted her first of the year, chipping Michelle Betos after getting behind the Thorns defensive line, who were looking for an offside flag.
Less than three minutes later, Crystal Dunn netted her league-leading 6th goal of the season, pouncing on a mistake from Betos, as she went to play the ball with her feet instead using her hands, giving the Spirit the lead for good.
The Thorns pressed to close out the first half, then looked listless in the second half, having few dangerous chances, with the greatest of these coming from a Mana Shim free kick just outside of the 18-yard box that she couldn't curl past the wall.
Portland finished the match with seven shots to Washington's 13, though the teams finished equal with four corner kicks each. Betos made a career-high eight saves in the match, while Wys had to make three.
The match marked just the second time in its three-year history that Thorns FC has lost after scoring the opening goal. Amateur forward Kelsey Haycook made her first NWSL start in the match, while defender Rachel Van Hollebeke made her first appearance since April 18 as an early, second half sub.
The Thorns will stay on the road next weekend, heading to Houston to face the Dash on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium, their final match before the two week World Cup break.