On the quest for their first regular season win in more than three years against their rivals, Portland Thorns received OL Reign in Providence Park on Friday night. In a game marked by solid defensively play and missed opportunities, the longtime foes fought to a scoreless draw.
It was the second regular season game for the Rose City team after last week’s match against the North Carolina Courage was rescheduled for August.
The home team showed some depth on the bench, with Rocky Rodríguez, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Janine Beckie all available to jump in at the coach’s command.
In the first 15 minutes, the Thorns tried to take control of the match, but the visitors started to gain yard after yard minute by minute and put the home team’s defense under test.
6’ Huerta and Balcer managed to get to Portland’s box. It was a good thing none of the Reign players was on the far post to put Bella Bixby to work.
10’ Good ball from Klingenberg and great movement by Sophia Smith who positioned herself between the CBs but couldn’t direct her shot on goal.
13’ Good pressure from the Reign that ended up on Hubly losing the ball and giving the visitors the opportunity to shoot only to find Menges and Kuikka blocking it.
14’ A new shaky moment for Portland’s defense came when a back pass to Menges was intercepted by Balcer. Reign’s forward’s shot went wide.
22’ Sam Coffey stole a ball on Reign’s side of the field and shot but Phallon Tullis-Joyce didn’t have a problem stopping that ball.
25’ Free kick for Portland on the left side. That set-piece gave the hosts the opportunity to put the visitors against their own goal, only to see shot after shot blocked by the defense.
32’ A corner for OL Reign gave Fishlock the opportunity to open the score, but the post first and Klingenberg’s head second denied her.
35’ Klingenberg sent a precise service to the far post. Kuikka went for it but couldn’t connect with it.
39’ Great through pass by Sinclair to Smith who ended up in a 1v1 with Tullis-Joyce. The goalkeeper came off of her line to block Sophia’s potential shot.
51’ The best opportunity for the Thorns came with Morgan Weaver trying to shoot, after an amazing pass by Smith. Nonetheless, Barnes blocked it timely with a sliding tackle. The ball bounced, chipping over Tullis-Joyce, and luckily for the Reign the post got in the way of what would’ve been the first goal of the match.
62’ A pass from Smith to Sinclair found the Canadian unmarked in the box. She could’ve taken the shot, but the captain decided to pass to Weaver. She put the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed due to Weaver receiving the ball in an offside position.
65’ Sofia Huerta sent a service to Portland’s box and it connected with Balcer. It would’ve been a good goal but Bixby made a great save to keep a clean sheet.
74’ Rocky Rodríguez entered the match (Sinclair subbed off), marking the 100th appearance for the Costa Rican midfielder.
83’ Tullis-Joyce denied both Morgan Weaver and Janine Beckie.
87’ Great opportunity falls for Beckie who couldn’t shoot on frame.
After the 90’, the referee added two more minutes of stoppage time but neither of the teams could get a shot on frame and they shared the spoils. It was a fair result for a game in which both team tallied 17 total shots, but the Thorns may look back and regret their missed chances to find the breakthrough.
The Thorns will be back at Providence Park on Wednesday, May 18th, when they receive the reigning champions Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. Pacific.