Three goals in five minutes lead the way for Portland Thorns FC to take a 5-2 win over the Boston Breakers Wednesday night in front of 15,624 fans at Providence Park. Two goals from McCall Zerboni added to goals from Jodie Taylor, Allie Long and Mana Shim as the Thorns scored their most goals in a single game this season.
Taylor tallied her first goal for the Thorns to open the scoring in the 16th minute, curling a shot into the side netting from the left side of the box from a Tobin Heath pass. However, Boston would equalize in the 36th minute when a cross bounced off the hip of Kat Williamson and over Michelle Betos. Halftime came with the scores even at 1-1.
Portland blitzed the Breakers four minutes into the second half, building on the dominant offensive pressure shown in the first half. Zerboni scored back-to-back goals for her first in a Thorns jersey. A perfectly timed run behind the defense was found by Allie Long with a chipped pass and a deft first touch gave Zerboni all the time in the world to shot past Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to make it 2-1. Four minutes later Zerboni had her second when a deflected cross fell to her for an easy finish. Shim made it 4-1 just a minute later with a cool finish from the left side after receiving a pass from Christine Sinclair.
Long added a goal to her assist in the 66th minute. A Heath cross meant for Shim was deflected straight to Long’s feet. The finish into the lower left corner made it 5-1 Portland. Boston would get a consolation goal from the penalty spot after Emily Menges was called for a handball in the box. Kristie Mewis stepped up and sent Betos the wrong way to make it 5-2.
Taylor made her first start since getting third place at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with England, though was replaced at halftime by Shim as a precaution against a niggling knee injury that has plagued her since before the World Cup. Long tallied her 10th career assist on Zerboni’s first goal, making her the first-ever Thorns player to reach double digits for goals and assists. With her goal, she pushed her tally to 19 goals and 10 assists.
Naeher was forced into four saves as Portland had nine shots on target to Boston’s three, all of which came in the second half. Betos finished the night with two saves.
With the result, Portland moves up to fifth place in the NWSL, even on points with FC Kansas City, but ahead on goal differential. The Thorns face a quick turnaround, hosting the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday before a road test against Kansas City next Wednesday.
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