In what proved to be a back-and-forth affair for most of the match, Portland Thorns FC took down Racing Louisville FC 2-0 in Kentucky. Rocky Rodriguez scored a goal for Portland off a penalty kick.
With numerous players out due to being on international duty, several new players slotted into the starting lineup for the Thorns. Five players — Lindsey Horan, Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Adrianna Franch, and Christine Sinclair — were out with their respective national teams, allowing a few different players to get more playing time than usual.
Things started off pretty even between the two sides. The match was played truly end-to-end, with neither club able to get an early advantage. Louisville managed to string together some nice counterattacks while Portland managed to get the ball deep into Racing’s side of the field early and often. Despite their respective success, neither team was able to take an early lead.
That changed about 30 minutes in for the Thorns. Rocky Rodriguez drew a foul in the box that set the midfielder up for a penalty. Rodriguez stepped to the ball and launched the ball past Michelle Betos, who guessed incorrectly where the shot would go. Rodriguez’s goal made it 1-0 Thorns.
Racing Louisville made Portland work defensively. Yuki Nagasato and company made some strong pushes in the final third and put the pressure on the Thorns. But Portland was able to hold strong, keeping a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Both teams came out strong in the second half. Morgan Weaver helped Pilot the attack for the Thorns while Nagasoto came out and almost immediately found a goal for Louisville. Fortunately for Portland, Racing was not able to find the back of the net early.
Louisville did not have the same luck stopping Portland. In the 52nd minute, Emily Menges launched a ball into the box for the Thorns. Simone Charley — who had been putting in work the entire match — rose up and put a picture-perfect header right into the back of the goal for Portland. It was the first assist of Menges’s NWSL career and the Thorns led 2-0.
The match went on in the back-and-forth manner that was commonplace for most of the first half. Weaver continued to show great skill in generating chances for Portland while Cheyna Matthews did the same for Louisville. In the end, Portland was able to prevent Louisville from tying things up, earning a 2-0 victory in the process.
Next up, the Thorns will be back home for their matchup against NY/NJ Gotham FC on July 11. It will be the first match where Providence Park will be at full capacity this season.