Nadia Nadim scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season to power Portland Thorns FC to a 1-0 win over Seattle Reign FC Saturday night in front of a roaring 19,231 fans at Providence Park. Nadim’s game winner was her second goal against Seattle this season and snapped a two-game losing streak for Thorns FC heading into a league-wide hiatus for the Summer Olympics in Rio.
After absorbing consistent pressure throughout the match, Nadim broke the deadlock in the 74th minute, rising between two Reign defenders to glance a header into the side netting off a lofted forward ball from midfielder Mana Shim. The goal marked Nadim’s second headed goal of the season against the Reign after her strike in a 1-1 draw earlier this season. The assist is Shim’s first of the season.
Seattle, coming into the match unbeaten in their last four, dominated possession and chances for the majority of the game, but Portland’s organized defense kept a team that scored five goals in their last game off the scoresheet. Seattle was regularly caught offside trying to connect on lofted balls behind the Thorns FC defense.
Portland came out of the blocks with a clear defensive posture. The stalwart back line of five defenders held strong against wave after wave of Reign offense and trying to break on the counter attack. Goalkeeper Michelle Betos was called on to make several important saves, ending the game with six, including a full-stretch save on a Jessica Fishlock free kick a minute before Nadim’s goal.
The result assures that Thorns FC heads into the Olympic break atop the NWSL standings. Portland has been missing seven starters in their last few matches due to international call ups for the Rio Games, including five players for a U.S. Women’s National Team searching for it’s fourth-straight gold medal.
The clean sheet was the Thorns’ first in four games after conceding the opening goal in each of those four matches. Portland’s attendance Saturday night also set a new single-game record for the 2016 season.