Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored her second goal of the season to give Portland Thorns FC (2-0-1, 7pts) a 1-0 road win over the Boston Breakers (0-3-0, 0pts) Sunday afternoon in front of 3,698 fans. Midfielder Tobin Heath tallied her fourth assist in four games on the game-winner.
Brynjarsdottir headed in Heath’s 78th minute free kick in textbook fashion, slipping in front of her defender to connect with Heath’s curled delivery. Heath leads the NWSL in assists and has assisted on every Thorns goal this season so far, including Brynjarsdottir’s goal to open Portland’s account for the year in the season opener.
Portland was forced into a goalkeeper adjustment as Michelle Betos was listed as the starting goalkeeper, but replaced by Adrianna Franch before kickoff. Franch made several key saves to keep out the Breakers, including a kick-save from a point-blank header just minutes after the Thorns took the lead. Boston also hit the crossbar in the 49th minute. Boston have yet to score a goal in their opening three matches of the 2016 season.
Confusion reigned late in the second half of this match. On the free kick leading up to Portland’s goal, defender Meghan Klingenberg was brought down on the edge of the area with the majority of players believing the referee had called for a penalty kick. Heath was even setting up for the kick before the referee indicated a free kick just outside the area. Then several minutes of extra time were added on when the referee seemed to have blown for full-time and picked up the ball, but instead was indicating Portland was making a substitution, leaving players, coaches and announcers flummoxed.
Defender Meg Morris made her debut for Thorns FC as a second half substitute after signing in midweek. Former Thorn McCall Zerboni was in the starting lineup for the Breakers to face her old club.
Portland remains on the road for their next two matches and will face the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 7 with kickoff scheduled for 4:00pm (Pacific).
Updates to follow...