The Portland Thorns lost their first match of the season 2-1 to Cascadia rivals OL Reign.
Christine Sinclair scored only four minutes into the match. Reign’s goalkeeper Karen Bardsley came out and punched a Crystal Dunn cross to Sinclair. The Canadian took it first time and delicately dropped the ball under the crossbar to give the Thorns a 1-0 lead.
She's the GOAT for a reason. #PORvRGN | #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/QLRtcf7SXK— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) May 23, 2021
The lead didn’t last long. Dunn took down Jessica Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe stepped up to take the kick. She curled it low and Adrianna Franch was able to get a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
OL Reign took the lead five minutes later. Rapinoe played a free kick to Fishlock, who lofted the ball to the back post. The ball bounced around and the Thorns couldn’t clear their lines. Shirley Cruz was found unmarked in the box and slid the ball into the back of the net.
The Reign were very physical and energetic which unsettled Portland. The Reign took advantage with two goals but the Thorns worked their way back into the match. Portland created chances through Sinclair, Sophia Smith, and Morgan Weaver but they couldn’t convert in the first half.
Portland started the second half aggressively. Within the first 30 seconds of the half Weaver almost got on the end of a cross and Dunn’s header was saved. In the 48th minute, Sinclair linked up with Smith, who cut in toward goal. Her curling effort was kept out by Bardsley.
Christen Westphal drove through the middle and lofted a cross to the back post and Weaver fired a bullet of a header just wide. The Thorns continued to pile on the pressure but were unable to create clear cut chances.
The Thorns thought they had the equalizer in the 76th minute. Sinclair curled a ball behind the defense and Lindsey Horan launched a diving header into the back of the net only for it to be ruled off for offside.
The Reign’s Tziarra King almost made it 3-1 after heading a corner at the back post. Franch made a diving save to keep her out.
Portland continued to push for the equalizer but were unable to break the Reign down.
The Thorns will be back in action later this week when they take on the Orlando Pride. That game is set for Wednesday, May 26 at 4 p.m. in Orlando.