Portland Thorns FC returned to NWSL play Saturday afternoon but struggled on the road, falling to a 3-1 loss against Seattle Reign FC at Memorial Stadium in front of 5,888 fans. Manon Melis tallied a brace for Seattle before Allie Long scored a late consolation goal for Portland, though Megan Rapinoe would score with nearly the final kick of the match for the Reign.
Melis opened the scoring in the 27th minute, finishing first time over goalkeeper Michelle Betos off a pinpoint cross from Naho Kawasumi. Melis scored her second goal five minutes into the second half, pouncing on a defensive error to make it 2-0.
Allie Long scored her first goal of the season in second half stoppage time, acrobatically flicking a cross with the outside of her foot into the upper left corner from a free kick.
Seattle came out looking to avenge their 1-0 loss in Portland back on July 30 and consistently pushed pressure high and crowded the midfield. The Thorns struggled at times to connect passes and rarely put the Reign goal under pressure, despite earning a number of corner kicks throughout the match. A month-long break for the Rio Olympics may have taken it’s toll on a Thorns FC side that had earned several impressive results in the build up to the tournament, despite missing seven international players.
Six of those seven players returned to the starting lineup for Thorns FC as U.S. Women’s National Team members Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg and Emily Sonnett joined French international Amandine Henry in the starting eleven. Heath captained the side in the absence of Christine Sinclair who has not yet rejoined the team.
Henry was forced off early in the first half due to injury, replaced by Mana Shim.
Despite the loss, Portland retains second place in the NWSL standings ahead of Western New York’s game Saturday night. Portland has four matches remaining ahead of the NWSL playoffs and their next three matches will be played at home, starting with the Boston Breakers on Sunday, Sept. 4th. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (Pacific).
Updates to follow...