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Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars Draw in Their Second Match of the Challenge Cup

Thorns and Red Stars share the spoils as Portland can’t capitalize in the final third.

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Day 3 Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Prior to the match, Red Stars’ Katie Johnson said that Chicago was excited to play against Portland without the Rose City Riveters cheering them on. She alluded to the fact that the Thorns may not have as much energy without the fans.

Thorns coach Mark Parson made it clear that his team would be energized and he would make sure her words were posted in the locker room to provide Portland with motivation.

Both teams rotated heavily which provided younger players the opportunity to get more experience while resting some veterans. The Thorns came out energized and looking to dominate the rotated Chicago midfield. Lindsey Horan and Celeste Boureille were circulating the ball well in possession and linked up nicely with Christine Sinclair.

Horan dictated the midfield throughout the first half. She carried the ball well and was able to open up the midfield by spraying long passes to switch the point of attack. Horan and Emily Ogle were crucial in maintaining possession but they were also instrumental in recovering the ball.

The young forwards Simone Charley and Morgan Weaver were active early running behind the Chicago centerbacks. They both contributed well defensively. Charley and Weaver pressed the defenders and goalkeeper relentlessly which sprang Portland’s suffocating press that the Red Stars were unable to break consistently until after the hydration break.

Chicago looked to Sarah Luebbert down the right in attack, but Meghan Klingenberg locked her down defensively. The best chance of the half came in the 14th minute. Emily Boyd was forced into a reaction save after a long ball into the box that Weaver redirected at goal.

The Red Stars opened up the second half by linking well in midfield and trying to get their wingbacks up the pitch. They pinned Portland back for the first five minutes but after the 50th minute, the Thorns were able to release the pressure. The Thorns began shooting from distance to test the halftime sub, Cassie Miller, in goal.

The game slowed considerably in the second half and both teams struggled to create chances. For the last ten minutes of regulation the Thorns pinned Chicago in the final third creating a flurry of chances. The best of which was an Ogle deflected shot that went just wide of the post. Autumn Smithers had a rocket shot saved off the post in added time, but could not find the back of the net.

The Thorns’ next match is on Sunday, July 5 at 7:00 pm (PT). They will take on the Washington Spirit and can be streamed on CBS All Access.