Portland Thorns FC slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Seattle Reign FC Wednesday night in front of a sold-out Providence Park, setting a new NWSL attendance record of 21,144. Forward Kim Little scored the lone goal in the 57th minute to take a vital three points from Portland.
In a game of few chances, Little pounced on a misplaced pass and rushed to goal, slipping past two Thorns tackles and scoring past a stranded Michelle Betos. The goal echoed the one Little scored to give Seattle a 1-0 win in last season’s first meeting on May 10, 2014. Little capitalized on a miscue from former Thorn Rebecca Moros to score the deciding goal in that fixture. The Seattle forward has now scored in three of the last four matches against Portland.
The Thorns came closest to an equalizer in the 68th minute. Midfielder Tobin Heath put in a cross from the left side that Christine Sinclair rose and met strongly, but Seattle goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer was able to palm the header over the bar.
Both teams managed just three shots on goal each, while Seattle held a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks, six of which came in the first half. Betos was forced to make two saves, while Hopmeyer made three, though was often forced off her line to clear dangerous through balls from the Thorns.
The match saw four of Portland’s nine World Cup veterans return to the starting lineup, with two more on the bench. Stephanie Catley and Clare Polkinghorne made their first starts for the Thorns this season.
Before kickoff, Portland’s returning World Cup stars were honored for their accomplishments at the tournament. Special recognition was given to Heath, Alex Morgan and Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe for their World Cup victory for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The Thorns face a quick turnaround and a chance at revenge when they head up to Seattle Sunday to face the Reign again.
Post Game Interviews
Head Coach Paul Riley
Midfielder Tobin Heath