Portland again emerges from Orlando City Stadium with three points, earning a 3-1 win in their second match against the Orlando Pride this season.
In the first game following the departure of their American and Canadian international players, the Thorns shifted into a back three. With Katherine Reynolds, Emily Menges, and Gabby Seiler holding the defensive line, fullbacks Meghan Klingenberg and Ellie Carpenter were freed up to take players on and create chances in the attack. Despite pressure from the Pride in the first third of the game, Orlando struggled against the extra width in Portland’s offense, looking disorganized throughout the majority of the match.
It took the Thorns a little while to settle into the game, allowing Orlando most of the possession and a number of corner kicks in the opening minutes of the match. Toni Pressley capitalized off the Pride’s bout of dominance in the tenth minute, sending a flicked on near-post header into the back of the net off a Carson Pickett corner.
Portland was gifted an opportunity to equalize in the 18th minute when Celeste Boureille sent an excellent ball to Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, who found herself completely unmarked in front of goal. Crnogorcevic headed the chance off-target, resulting in a Pride goal kick.
The Thorns found their way onto the score sheet in the 28th minute. Celeste Boureille found herself on the receiving end of a long throw-in by Carpenter, hitting a shot from the top of the box that deflected off the goal post. Dagny Brynjarsdottir buried the rebound, tallying her first goal of the season.
Six minutes later, Orlando almost pulled ahead again when Marta ripped a low shot from the top of the eighteen. Britt Eckerstrom was quick to react, showcasing a diving tip to keep the score even.
The Thorns would go ahead in the 35th minute after a bit of magic from Andressinha. Caitlin Foord dropped off the front line to receive a pass, held off a challenge from Carson Pickett and slipped the onrushing Ellie Carpenter into the box. Rachel Hill arrived late and took Carpenter out from behind just outside the area, earning herself a yellow in the process. Andressinha stepped up and sent a beautiful ball into the back of the net. Up 2-1, the Thorns carried the momentum through the remainder of the first half.
Portland made a change to their lineup at halftime, subbing out Crnogorcevic for Hayley Raso. Raso’s fresh energy helped the Thorns continue their stretch of attacking dominance as they created the majority of chances in the beginning of the second half.
These opportunities led to yet another Portland goal in the 57th minute, when one of Carpenter’s crosses was poorly cleared to Caitlin Foord. Foord hit a volley past Haley Kopmeyer, doubling the Thorns’ lead over Orlando and cementing Portland’s victory.
The remainder of regulation time was mostly uneventful, highlighted by substitutions on both ends, a yellow card issued to Boureille in the 61st minute, and another one given to Carson Pickett in the 74th. In the last ten minutes of the game, Orlando was again able to muster energy on the attack. The Pride created a number of chances going forward, but most were blocked by Portland’s defense or rolled harmlessly to Eckerstrom.
In the first minute of stoppage time, referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin indicated that there would be a weather delay, putting the game on hold with a minimum of three minutes of play remaining. Despite Orlando’s attempts to get a goal back in the final moments of the match, the scoreline remained 3-1 in favor of the Thorns.