The Portland Thorns came back from a slow start to salvage a point against their rivals, the Seattle Reign, in this evening’s 2-2 draw at Providence Park.
The Thorns were under pressure form the visitors from the opening whistle and that pressure paid off for Seattle almost immediately. As the first minute of play ticked down, the Reign were already on the board as Jess Fishlock battled past Lindsey Horan at the top of the Thorns box then ripped a shot past the dive of Adrianna Franch.
Reeling from the Reign’s early strike, the Thorns were able to put their boot on the ball and control possession in the early going, but chances were few and far between for the home side.
The Thorns would pull one back in the 35th minute, but again it was Fishlock doing the scoring. The Thorns’ few forays forward saw their most success coming down the wing and this time it was Haley Raso knocking the ball past her defender and driving down the pitch before playing a low ball into the box. With Thorns crashing toward goal, Fishlock slide to knock the ball away, but could only throw he head back in frustration as she instead knocked it into her own net.
The level score would not last long, however, with the Reign grabbing their second lead of the night in the 39th minute. The visitors found full back Rebekah Stott in the Thorns box where she dribbled around one defender, leaving the ball for Reign striker Merrit Mathias who was one on one with Franch and knocked the ball home with no trouble to make the score 2-1.
After looking out of sorts following the second Seattle goal, the Thorns started the second half pushing forward and working the ball around the visitors’ half and generating a series of half-chances in the early going.
While the Thorns looked far more likely in the second half, a scrappy defensive performance from Seattle smothered the match, turning the game into a chippy affair for much of the second half.
Seattle almost managed to extend the lead on their best chance of the half in the 77th minute as Megan Rapinoe drove down the center of the pitch then unleashed a dipping shot on the Thorns goal, only to see Franch push the ball wide while diving at full extension.
The Thorns would finally score a goal of their own in the 82nd minute as Meghan Klingenberg clipped a first-time cross into the center of the Reign box, picking out Allie Long. With a defender on her hip, Long out-jumped the Reign and got a head to the ball, sending a looping header off the underside of the bar and in to knot the score up at two apiece where it would stay for the remainder of the match.
The Thorns are on the road for their next match, taking on FC Kansas City next Saturday, May 13th.