Third time was not the charm as Portland Thorns FC fell to a 2-1 loss to FC Kansas City Saturday night in front of 16,942 fans at Providence Park. The result ends Portland's club-record 12-game unbeaten streak and marks the first time Thorns FC has conceded multiple goals this season.
For the third-straight game, the Thorns conceded the opening goal in the match, but in the last two matches, Portland was able to recover and earn a victory. A hard-fought comeback fell just short as the Thorns were unable to respond to two headed goals from Shea Groom, who gave FC Kansas City a 2-0 lead until defender Kat Williamson tallied a consolation goal for Portland.
Groom opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after FC Kansas City dominated possession early on. Erika Tymrak struck a half-volley off the post and on the rebound, Tiffany McCarty chipped in a cross that Groom pounced on to head into the ground and past goalkeeper Michelle Betos.
FC Kansas City doubled their lead nine minutes after the restart as McCarty and Groom connected again. McCarty broke down the right side and lofted a cross deep to the far post with Groom able to beat defender Mallory Weber and head into the net.
Thorns FC increasingly piled on the pressure as the second half wore on and their endeavor paid off in the 76th minute. Forward Nadia Nadim put in a low cross from a free kick, which midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir was able to touch past goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and Williamson was on hand to put the ball into the net. The goal marks Williamson's first of the season and on her long-awaited return from a knee injury.
Though Portland leads the league in getting recovering to get a result, having recovered 10 points from losing positions (seven more than any other team in the NWSL), the Thorns were unable to find an equalizer Saturday night.
Tymrak and Mandy Laddish both had opportunities to score the first goal, but both were denied by the heroics of Betos. Tymrak must have believed she'd scored when she unleashed a curling effort from the top of the box that looked destined for the top corner until the hand of Betos at full-stretch pushed the ball wide. Laddish broke through one-on-one minutes later, but again Betos was able to react and keep Kansas City off the board.
Although FC Kansas City outshot Thorns FC 10-6 in the first half, the game ended with each side taking 16 shots and seven shots on goal each. Barnhart made six saves for Kansas City and Betos made five. Portland's newest signing Jennifer Skogerboe made her debut as a second half substitute.
Updates to follow...