An energetic and almost frantic second half sees a lot of action, but the first half penalty conversion is enough for the Portland Thorns to best their visitors.
Right off the bat in the first minute, Chicago’s goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was forced into a save, punching away a cross that looked destined for Sinclair’s head. But Chicago had their opportunities when they could get the ball through Julie Johnston or up to Christen Press. In the 4th minute Adrianna Franch made a vital save after Chicago got behind the defense. And in the 22nd minute, Christen Press nearly got the opener but appeared to knock her own ball a little wide to the left.
But it was the Thorns who got the only goal of the first half. Hayley Raso, who had been very impressive throughout the first half, earned a Portland Thorns corner in the 26th minute. And Christen Press was judged to have handled the ball, thus securing a penalty kick for the home side. Nadia Nadim put a strong shot to the left, sending the keeper the wrong way and converting for the opening goal in the 27th minute. Chicago tried to equalize as quick as they could, but after a few minutes the Thorns were able to mostly control the remainder of the half and go into the break up 1-0.
Adrianna Franch stood on her head in the second half, keeping Chicago off the board multiple times. In the 59th minute, her most impressive save kept the ball out of the net with just her fingertips. Thorns had a few opportunities to get a second goal to put the game away but couldn’t get the ball zeroed in on frame.
Chicago became frantic and desperate as the second half wore on. They threw the kitchen sink at the Thorns defense but with Franch commanding her box well they bent but did not break. And the first half penalty conversion by Nadia Nadim, along with the shutout earned by Franch, was more than enough to send Chicago home with nothing. Go Thorns!