The Portland Thorns traveled to Kansas City to take on the Current, and left with a heartbreaking draw. Rocky Rodriguez was thought to have nabbed the winner late, but a Hailie Mace free-kick evened affairs at the death.
The Thorns went into the match undefeated in matchups against the Current. In fact, the Current had been held scoreless against the Thorns in 2022. This game marked the first goal against the Thorns by KC— but didn’t change their unbeaten streak against the midwest side.
The Thorns lineup looked fairly typical for this match. One notable difference is Crystal Dunn available off the bench. Sinclair marked her 150th regular-season start with the Thorns in this match.
The temperature at the start of the half was 90 degrees so it was a bit of a scorcher in KC. The first half started with the Thorns finding success, as they forced A.D. Franch to make saves with her feet and her hands. Franch had a phenomenal game, limiting the Thorns to just one goal when the number could easily have been higher. The half picked up pace in the final 5 minutes of extra time when Sam Coffey fed a ball through to Sophia Smith. There she collided with Franch and the two players went down for a little while.
The second half started off a little bit more well matched, with Sophia Smith going down in the box but not earning a PK as well as Claire Lavogez for KC firing off a shot that Bixby nearly let sneak through. The rest of the half was a tough battle with both sides finding good chances. In the end though, it was Rocky Rodriguez who buried her chance in the 86th minute, and looked to have won all three points for the Thorns. Finally though, in the 94th minute Hailie Mace had the last word, as she put away a free-kick after Sauerbrunn earned a yellow, ending the game in a 1-1 draw.
1’ Kick-off at Children’s Mercy Park in KC.
3’ A cross from Sinclair went straight into the hands of A.D. Franch.
4’ Kuikka was looking to find Klingenberg but her pass doesn't make it. Smith found a shot, though it was sent over the bar.
6’ LaBonta was looking to cause trouble in the Thorns box but the defense cleared it away.
6’ Smith looking to find a goal all by herself but Franch’s foot stopped her effort.
7’ Weaver played it back to Sinclair whose shot went over the top of the goal.
10’ Ryan’s cross was good but no one was there to find it at the back post.
11’ Coffey was looking for Ryan with a cross but it sailed over her head and out of bounds.
13’ Smith with a fancy flick over her head, she was trying to find Sugita but wasn’t successful.
15’ Smith was looking for Weaver but she was offside.
16’ Smith working hard outside of the 18. She drew 3 defenders and went down. No foul called though.
18’ Ryan with a rocket that pings off the crossbar! So close with that one...
The crossbar is still shaking pic.twitter.com/Dlq5bafqom— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) September 18, 2022
19’ Foul called for Portland, Ryan took it but it was stopped short by KC.
21’ Cece Kizer for the Current had a header that was sent wide... It was KC’s first good effort of the match.
24’ Sugita sent a ball through for Sinclair but she was beaten by Franch.
25’ Sinclair was looking to find the back of the net after Franch was out of position but was denied by a KC defender.
30’ Ryan down again drawing Portland another foul.
31’ Hubly tripped from behind as she was racing Kizer back to the Thorns goal.
32’ Hydration break.
35’ Weaver was putting in the work! But her shot was saved by Franch’s foot again...
36’ Sauerbrunn clears away the Hailie Mace’s attack.
38’ This time Coffey with a shot from distance! Franch saved this attempt, with her hands this time.
39’ Morgan Weaver was feeling it! Her shot however, went over the net.
41’ Smith was working in the box but her cross was deflected away by the Current.
44’ As Sinclair was tracking back to defend she flattened LaBonta right outside our 18. A foul for the Current was called. Bixby with the sun in her eyes was working to organize her wall.
45’ Lavogez was looking to score but it went wide. No threat from that one.
Five minutes of stoppage time was added
45+8’ Coffey found a through ball to Smith but Franch came out quickly. They collided and both stayed down. Franch found her feet first, it appeared to be that the wind was taken out of her. Sophia Smith was having her ankle looked at, and she got back up too.
45+8’ Hamilton called offside for the Current.
Aaaaand there’s the whistle to end half... finally.
46’ Kick-off for the second half
46’ Smith looking to break away but was tackled and KC took possession.
49’ Smith was racing a sea of KC players and went down in the box, but nothing comes from it and Franch collected the ball. Upon review it looked like Smith’s legs were indeed taken out from under her— but there’s no VAR so nothing came from it...
51’ Lavogez with a shot that nearly snuck through Bixby’s legs. But she recovered and nothing came of the slip-up.
52’ Portland corner kick taken by Coffey. She played it short to Ryan who in turn shot, but it’s nothing for Franch to worry about.
55’ Ryan again with a rocket that went over the top of the net...
56’ Morgan Weaver found herself in a good position but waited a bit too long to shoot.
59’ BIXBY WITH A BIG SAVE! She denied LaBonta point blank. Lavogez also looked to follow-up but it went over the crossbar.
61’ Christine Sinclair was denied massively. Franch with yet another foot save to keep the Thorns from scoring.
63’ Kizer broke loose for the Current but Bixby was there to deny her chance. KC had a few chances there that didn’t amount to anything.
64’ Some KC subs: LaBonta and Kizer went off and Bennett and Rodriguez came on.
65’ Sophia Smith with a great shot that was deflected by Franch, and then Sinclair’s shot went wide. Franch had pulled off an amazing performance (mostly with her feet, honestly).
66’ Portland corner, Kling took it and it went off of Hubly’s head to Kuikka who’s shot from distance sails wide.
68’ Weaver looked to take a one-touch shot but it went wide.
69’ Some subs for Portland, as Beckie and Rodriguez come on for Sinclair and Ryan.
70’ Bixby’s turn for a great foot save.
70’ Weaver with the counterattack and a shot from distance but it went wide.
71’ KC’s first corner of the game goes out quickly for a goal-kick.
73’ Bennet was shown a yellow card for a tough collision with Hubly who went down and stayed down.
74’ The second hydration break of the match began while Hubly received medical attention.
77’ Franch again stopped the Thorn’s attack, this time by intercepting a cross to Smith.
78’ Weaver with a shot that, you guessed it, Franch denied.
81’ Kling took a Portland corner that didn’t amount to anything. It went out for a goal kick.
82’ Weaver’s shot was deflected into the waiting hands of Franch.
84’ Another Portland corner that Franch came out to punch and then was put out for yet another Portland corner. Nothing came of the follow-up.
87’ PORTLAND FINALLY BROKE THROUGH! The first shot from Rocky went off the far post, but she followed up and buried the rebound!
Rocky comes in and makes an impact pic.twitter.com/aMFe4iuKYy— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) September 18, 2022
Five minutes of stoppage were added in the second half.
90+1’ Weaver goes off for Everett
90+3’ Sauerbrunn received a yellow card for a foul right outside of the 18.
90+4’ KC goal... the free kick from Hailie Mace deflected off the wall and into the back of the net. Bixby went the right way but didn’t anticipate the deflection.
90+5’ Coffey took the last free kick of the game but her service went over the top of everyone.
And with the final whistle... the match ended 1-1 courtesy of a pair late goals.
The result kept Portland fourth, two points off the top spot but with a game in hand over the three teams in front of them. The Thorns have three matches left to solidify their playoff position, and also potentially snag their third NWSL shield.
Portland has a quick turnaround and is next in action on Wednesday, September 18 when they return home to Providence Park to face Racing Louisville at 7 p.m. Pacific.