Goalkeeper Michelle Betos scored a diving header deep into second half stoppage time to equalize for Portland Thorns FC in a 1-1 draw with FC Kansas City Friday night in front of 15,214 fans at Providence Park. Portland played the last twenty minutes of the match down a player after McCall Zerboni was shown a straight red card.
FC Kansas City broke the deadlock in the 51st minute. Holding a noticeable size advantage on set pieces, a lofted ball into the box from Jen Buczkowski was met by Sarah Hagen, who out jumped Kat Williamson and Betos to head into the net and give Kansas City a 1-0 lead. Twenty minutes later, Portland was down and goal and down a player. Zerboni was shown a red card in the 70th minute for stepping on Kansas City forward Shea Groom after Groom had collided with Sinead Farrelly at midfield.
Portland pressed for an equalizer, bringing on Hannah Terry and Sarah Jackson as second half subs to add more offensive firepower. With time running down late into five minutes of stoppage time the Thorns earned back-to-back corner kicks. Head coach Paul Riley waved everyone forward, including Betos who was left unmarked when midfielder Allie Long found her with a pinpoint cross. Betos flung herself and connected perfectly, beating goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and a defender on the line to rescue a point for the Thorns.
Betos becomes the first goalkeeper to score in NWSL history and finished the match with four saves, including a vital one-on-one with Caroline Kastor just before her goal.. For the second-straight game Betos has earned a point for her club following a penalty kick save in a 0-0 draw with Houston Dash on June 6.
Following a league-wide break for the FIFA Women's World Cup, Portland hosted FC Kansas City for the first time this season and the first time since Kansas City beat the Thorns 2-0 in last year's NWSL semifinals. A lackluster first half ended 0-0, though the Thorns may have been lucky not to be down at the break following Hagen's shot in the 33rd minute struck the inside of the post and glanced clear. Portland held a 13-8 advantage in shots in the match and though Kansas City looked most dangerous on set-pieces, Portland didn't concede a corner all night.
Portland has now gone seven-straight matches without a win and registered a second consecutive draw. The Thorns also saw the return of Rebecca Moros who joined Kansas City in the offseason after spending the 2014 season in the Rose City. The Thorns next face off against Sky Blue FC Friday, July 3 at Providence Park.
Updates to follow...
Paul Riley Post Game Interview
Michelle Betos Post Game Interview