Portland shut out Orlando on the road tonight in a quality all-around performance that saw the Thorns dominate the second half.
In the back, the Thorns started Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, and Ellie Carpenter, in front of AD Franch. Celeste Boureille, Lindsey Horan, and Christine Sinclair started in the midfield, Hayley Raso and Tobin Heath were on the wings, and Ana Crnogorcevic started up top.
The first ten minutes were tense for the Thorns, who were penned into their defensive third and had a hard time clearing a handful of attacks by the Pride. After a few scary moments, Portland started to play their way into the game. They found a few early chances up the right, including one in the 13th minute where Tobin Heath sent a long diagonal ball up to Hayley Raso as she sprinted up the right wing; she beat Chioma Ubogagu to send in a cross, but Orlando cleared it.
Portland got another chance in the 17th minute when Raso—sprinting up the left—pounced on a poorly-struck backpass by Alanna Kennedy to get one-on-one with Ashlyn Harris. She beat the Orlando keeper with a left-footed shot, but it hit the post harmlessly.
Two minutes the later, the Thorns conceded another good chance when Heath hip-checked Kristen Edmonds just outside the left edge of the penalty area to give away a free kick. Marta sent the ball to the far post, and AD Franch did well to dive back and swipe the ball out of danger.
In the 26th minute, Sinclair earned a yellow card on a Portland corner kick for some kind of contact with Alex Morgan—the replay didn’t clearly show what happened. Morgan stayed down for a few minutes and was attended to by a trainer, but eventually got up unscathed.
Crnogorcevic got another good chance in the 41st minute she got her head on the end of a ball over the top from Kling, but Harris collected—and the forward was waved offside anyway. A few minutes later, the teams headed into halftime scoreless.
Portland came into the second half swinging and got on the board in the 47th minute. Heath sent in a cross from the left that fell to Crnogorcevic at the near post. She took a touch to send it on to Horan, who beat Kennedy and put it away.
From there, the Thorns didn’t look back, putting together a dominant second-half performance with numerous looks on goal and denying the Pride completely.
Heath set up another chance a few minutes later, beating multiple Orlando defenders to dribble into the penalty area and send a cheeky backheel to Sinclair; with the Pride’s attention on Heath, she’d slipped into the area unnoticed and had an open shot against Harris, but sent the ball wide.
Portland made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Crnogorcevic headed a lofted ball down to Raso in the Thorns’s attacking third, and the Australian sprinted past Orlando’s stretched-out defense to get one-on-one with Harris and fire a right-footed shot into the back of the net.
That closed out the scoring, but Portland continued to dominate for the rest of the half. Defensively, they did well throughout the game to contain Kristen Edmonds and Chioma Ubogagu on the wings, and successfully shut Marta down by throwing several defenders at her anytime she was on the ball. As a result, Alex Morgan looked isolated up top througout the match. Meanwhile, Portland’s offensive weapons are looking more and more dangerous; Raso had a great game wreaking havoc on the wings, Horan bossed the central midfield, and Heath and Kling both provided excellent service as well as doing good defensive work.