Portland Thorns’ eight-match unbeaten run ends at the hands of OL Reign. Megan Rapinoe scored twice for the Reign and Angela Salem scored once for Portland. The Thorns stay in first place after their 2-1 loss with a four-point lead over the second-place North Carolina Courage.
The Thorns and Reign kicked off on Sunday afternoon in what was the first NWSL match played at Lumen Field. The Reign fed off their fans' energy and played at a high tempo. The Thorns created the first chance of the match and almost immediately silenced the Reign fans.
Sophia Smith dribbled her way down the right flank and through multiple defenders. She played the ball into the box to Christine Sinclair, who hit it first time. Her shot ricocheted off the crossbar and the Reign were let off the hook.
The Thorns put the Reign under pressure after Sinclair’s chance. Angela Salem shot from distance and Smith hit a low shot straight at Sarah Bouhaddi.
The Reign found space in transition when they won the ball off Portland in the midfield. Rose Lavelle repeatedly found Eugenie Le Sommer in space down the left. The French attacker fired a shot right at Bella Bixby in the 11th minute.
Five minutes later, the Reign struck in transition. Jessica Fishlock won the ball near the center circle and played it to Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe cut past the on-rushing Emily Menges and shot. The ball stayed low and snuck into the back of the net.
Rapinoe doubled the Reign’s advantage in the 40th minute. Le Sommer crossed into the box and the ball hit Natalia Kuikka’s hand. The referee awarded a penalty kick and Rapinoe converted.
The Thorns halved the Reign’s lead with the last kick of the half. Kuikka curled a free kick into the box. It was cleared to the top of the 18-yard box and Salem struck. Her volley swerved past Bouhaddi and into the net to make it 2-1.
Making it look easy, Ang. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/rmWmEPxgp6— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 30, 2021
The Reign continued to threaten in transition. Le Sommer had multiple chances to extend the Reign’s lead in the second half. Rapinoe played her into the box but the French winger flashed her shot over the bar. Minutes later, Fishlock floated the ball toward the back post and Le Sommer hit it into the side-netting.
In the 60th minute, Sofia Huerta played a cross into the area and Rapinoe drifted off the back shoulder of her defender. She met the cross with her head but couldn’t steer it on target.
The Thorns grew into the second half. Portland created multiple half-chances but struggled to find good looks on goal until the 74th minute. Lindsey Horan slid a pass through the Reign defense. Smith got on the end of it and jostled with her defender to create enough space to get a shot off. Smith hit it with her left foot but she got under it and sent it over the bar.
Fishlock struck from distance in the 79th minute but Bixby tipped her shot over the bar. Portland immediately created a chance on the other end. Crystal Dunn curled a pass behind the Reign defense. Halftime substitute Morgan Weaver ran onto it and shot but Bouhaddi closed her down and kept the shot out.
The match finished 2-1 and the Thorns’ eight-match unbeaten run in the NWSL came to a close. The Thorns are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Providence Park against the Washington Spirit. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST.