Portland Thorns FC defeated Kansas City NWSL 2-0 at Providence Park. The Thorns picked up three points and maintained their position at the top of the NWSL standings.
Kansas City put pressure on the Thorns early and looked dangerous in transition moments, but Emily Menges and Angela Salem dealt with these moments well. Bella Bixby was also crucial to keeping Kansas City off the board in the first half. In the sixth minute, Bixby made a diving one-handed stop to deny Kristen Hamilton.
Sophia Smith caused Kansas City a lot of trouble. She popped up on both flanks and centrally. In the ninth minute, Smith turned well in the box and fired a shot to the near post, but it was saved. One minute later, Natalia Kuikka chipped the ball to Rocky Rodriguez, who had her back to goal. She laid it off to Smith. Smith passed to the overlapping Meghan Klingenberg and continued her run into the box. Klingenberg looked to return the ball to Smith. Kristen Edmonds tried to cut out the service and put it into her own goal.
Thanks for the transfer of Own Goal to our squad today, @chicagoredstars. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/9Ed63PgiTc— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 1, 2021
Kansas City had an opportunity to level the score after Salem gave the ball away to Hamilton. The Kansas City attacker launched from distance and Bixby came up with another good save.
In the 42nd minute, Smith orchestrated another goal. Portland took a short corner to Smith. The striker drove into the 18-yard box and unleashed a well-hit shot. Marissa Everett deflected the shot with her hip and bumped it into the roof of the net.
She's feeling dangerous— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 1, 2021
Great shot from @sophsssmith, nice redirection from @marissa_everett. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/gVuIyUcFF1
Simone Charley headed the ball into the back of the net in the 45th minute after Kansas City was unable to clear their lines, but the goal was waved off.
Charley searched for her goal again to start the second half. She caused Kansas City issues by driving at the defense and taking players on.
Kansas City was able to create some sustained pressure on the Thorns at stages in the second half. But a combination of ineffective service and the Thorns’ last-ditch defending prevented them from capitalizing.
In the 62nd minute, Smith let the ball run past her as she drove down the flank and squared for Charley. Kansas City were able to prevent Charley from getting on the end of Smith’s service.
The Thorns had a few half-chances but didn’t create much more as the second half progressed. Bixby kept her fourth clean sheet in five regular-season matches.
Portland are back in action on Saturday, Aug. 3. The Thorns will visit the Washington Spirit with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m. PST.