Portland Thorns FC came back from a goal down to beat Sky Blue FC 2-1 Friday night at Providence Park. Midfielder Allie Long scored from the penalty spot to equalize before amateur defender Alyssa Kleiner set up Sinead Farrelly for the winner to snap a seven-match winless run. Sky Blue had taken the lead in the first half through Katy Freels.
Coming off a dramatic 1-1 draw against FC Kansas City, Portland entered the match having only beaten Sky Blue once in six meetings. The New Jersey-based club would take the lead midway through the first half as Katy Freels slipped behind the Thorns backline and chipped the ball over an onrushing Michelle Betos to give Sky Blue a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute and into halftime.
Portland showed a bit more urgency in the attack to start the second half and were rewarded in the 68th minute when Ayo Añonma was tackled in the box, earning a penalty kick and Cami Levin received a red card for the foul. Long stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to equalize.
Alyssa Kleiner, making her second NWSL start this season, was up and down the flanks, putting in several dangerous crosses all game. Kleiner made a deep cross from the left flank in the 79th minute that perfectly found the head of Farrelly. The goal marked the midfielder’s second of the season and the first time the Thorns have scored more than a goal in five matches.
Midfielder Mana Shim nearly pulled Portland level just before halftime, but her header in the 45th minute was headed clear off the line. Añonma was a threat on the breakaway, nearly getting on the end of several through balls before and after the penalty kick.
Michelle Betos again had a spectacular match, saving a free kick in the final seconds to keep the win for Portland. Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle returned from international duty with the Canadian National Team to make her first Thorns start to help the team to all three points.
The two sides will face each other again soon, as the Thorns head to Yurcak Field next Saturday, July 11.
Updates to follow...
Head Coach Paul Riley