Second half goals from Christine Sinclair and Nadia Nadim lead Portland Thorns FC to a 2-0 win over the Western New York Flash Friday afternoon in Rochester, NY. French international midfielder Amandine Henry also made her long-awaited Thorns debut, coming on as a second half substitute.
A stalwart defensive performance from the Thorns built the foundation for the opening goal which came just three minutes into the second half. A clever passing move from midfielder Lindsey Horan to Allie Long allowed Long to pick out a bursting Sinclair with plenty of time and space to bend a shot around stranded goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom and into the bottom corner. The goal snapped the Flash's two-game shutout streak and marks Sinclair's second in as many games. Long also tallied her first assist of the season.
Portland doubled their lead in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot. Midfielder Tobin Heath drew the foul in the box and Nadim stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the lower right corner for a 2-0 lead that would hold until full-time.
Western New York piled on pressure in the final minutes and thought they had pulled a goal back in second half stoppage time but for the heroics of goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. With a seemingly open net at the back post on a Flash cross, Franch scampered back across her line to deny the diving volley from Lynn Williams.
Thorns fans had to wait until the 51st minute for the introduction of Henry who joined her new club last Friday after completing her season with French club Lyon in Europe.
Thorns FC move into sole possession of first place in the NWSL table, two points clear of the Chicago Red Stars and remain unbeaten after nine games. The Thorns improved their record against the Flash to 4-2-3 and maintain their league-leading defensive run of only conceding five goals so far this season.
Updates to follow...