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Recap: Thorns down Reign 2-1 in final match of 2020

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Christine Sinclair had two goals off of penalty kicks.

Portland Thorns FC v OL Reign Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

In their final match of the 2020 season, Portland Thorns FC took down OL Reign 2-1. The win earned Portland the Verizon Community Shield, meaning $25,000 for Mimi’s Fresh Tees. Christine Sinclair led the way for Portland, scoring two goals off of penalty kicks.

OL Reign started quickly in this one. They tried to play with pace to catch the Thorns off guard, but for the most part Portland put themselves in good position to prevent easy shots. It helped having Meghan Klingenberg back in the starting XI after sitting out a match for yellow card accumulation.

Offensively, Portland’s midfield was working to find either Simone Charley or Sophia Smith wherever possible, the goal being to launch it deep and get it to one of those two behind the backline. Smith played well early on, outworking the Reign’s defense to try and find easy shots.

The work Portland put in seemed to swing the momentum in their favor. While there wasn’t an early breakthrough for a score, they were able to find opportunities thanks to on-point passing and quick pace. But the Reign didn’t make it easy for them, really tightening things up since their last match.

But the breakthrough finally came through for Portland in the 43rd minute. Charley tried to control the ball in the box and got pushed down in the process, prompting a whistle and a penalty shot for the Thorns. Christine Sinclair set up for the kick and, as she often does, rolled it right into the back of the net by Murphey. It was Sinclair’s fifth goal of the Fall Series and her third game in a row with a score. Portland led 1-0.

OL Reign was able to make some late pushes as they searched for the equalizer. Jasmyne Spencer was creating danger in the box often, but nothing came from it. Portland maintained their 1-0 lead going into the half.

Things did not start out well for Portland in the second half as they gave up a goal off the free kick almost immediately. OL Reign earned a free kick within the first 20 seconds and set up just past midfield. Shirley Cruz got situated for the set piece and sent the shot towards the goal, finding Amber Brooks along the way. Brooks took the ball and kicked a left-footed shot right by Eckerstrom, making it 1-1 in Tacoma.

The hectic pace was the modus operandi for both clubs. The two teams traded shots and opportunities for most of the early parts of the second half. The Thorns would do something like have an excellent volley that just so happens to be blocked and then the Reign would kick it into the box and get off some great chances. It was back and forth in the second half.

But Portland took control back with another penalty kick in the 73rd minute. Lindsey Horan drew a foul in the box after getting tangled up with Amber Brooks. Horan was down for a bit, but after getting up Portland was awarded the penalty kick and Sinclair set up for the shot. Because it worked the first time, Sinclair decided once again to just laser into the bottom-left corner. It went right in and Portland was leading 2-1.

Portland kept the aggression up from that point on. OL Reign kept making their pushes, but ultimately it was not enough. Sinclair had sealed the game for the Thorns and, with that, the season ended with a 2-1 victory.