Portland Thorns FC rallied from a goal down to beat the Chicago Red Stars 2-1 Sunday night in front of 15,858 fans at Providence Park. Midfielder Allie Long scored in each half to tally her 20th and 21st career NWSL goals and hand the Red Stars just their second league loss in 2015.
Chicago (7-2-6, 27pts) opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Alyssa Mautz looked to play in a cross from the right side, but instead lofted the ball over goalkeeper Michelle Betos and into the net. Portland (6-6-4, 22pts) grabbed a fortunate equalizer in the 38th minute when Red Stars goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc tangled with her own defender and left the ball sitting for Long to tap into the net.
Long scored the game winner in the 69th minute after good build-up play through the midfield. Midfielder Sinead Farrelly faked to play a ball into the box and instead squared it across the top of the box to Long in acres of space. Long took a touch to control and her second touch slotted the ball into the lower left corner. Her 21 career NWSL goals ties her for second all-time in the NWSL, just one behind leader Kim Little.
A back-and-forth game saw Portland putting pressure on Chicago’s midfield to limit distribution to Red Stars’ forwards Melissa Tancredi and Christen Press. Press broke behind the Thorns defense just before Long’s equalizer and put a half-volleyed shot off the far post. Betos finished the match with seven saves to LeBlanc’s two. Chicago outshot the Portland 16-11.
Portland’s newest player Lianne Sanderson made her Rose City and Thorns debut, coming on in the 60th minute for countrywoman Jodie Taylor. Sanderson signed with the Thorns earlier this week. Taylor is still nursing a knee injury, but played longer than her 45 minutes last Wednesday. However, head coach Paul Riley doesn’t believe she’ll be good for a full 90 minutes against FC Kansas City on Wednesday.
With the result, the Thorns move up to fifth in the table, tied on points with FC Kansas City for the fourth and final playoff spot. Following Wednesday’s match, the Thorns meet with Sky Blue FC for a second-straight road match before returning to the Rose City for their final home game of the 2015 regular season, playing host to the Washington Spirit on Sunday, Aug. 30th.
Post Game Interviews
Head Coach Paul Riley
Midfielder Allie Long
Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle