The Portland Thorns (9-3-5, 32 pts.) defeated the Boston Breakers (3-13-1, 10 pts.) in front of 17,152 at Providence Park, as Nadia Nadim netted the first hat trick by a Thorn since July 2014, when Christine Sinclair scored 3 goals in an 11 minute period against the Breakers.
The Breakers came out controlling possession in the first 10 minutes of the match, though they saw little for their efforts, only registering two shots on goal for the first half, and it would be the Thorns who would find the back of the net first, as Sinclair tapped home Nadim's free kick in the 15th minute, giving Sinclair her first goal since returning from the Olympics and her fourth overall.
The goal immediately sparked the Thorns, as they punished the Breakers' high-line defense through the speed and control of Hayley Raso, who provided a spark throughout the match, sending several dangerous crosses in to the box from the right side of the pitch.
While the Thorns looked dangerous as the half wore on, they needed a penalty kick to score their second goal of the match, as Lindsey Horan's shot hit the arm of Breakers' defender Kassey Kallman, which Nadia Nadim coolly slotted past Breakers' goalkeeper Libby Stout for her first of the match in the 42nd minute.
Coming out of the break, the Thorns continued their attack, needing only a couple minutes to add to their lead, as Allie Long netted her second goal in two matches, off a long cross in the box from Sinclair in the 49th minute.
With the game firmly in hand, the Thorns continued to possess and control the match, pressing the Breakers in to their own half of the field and wearing down a team coming off their third match in a week.
Nadim was not content with a lone goal. After moving up to center forward following the substitution of Sinclair in the 75th minute, she quickly netted her second of the match in the 79th minute, rounding the goalkeeper and sending the ball into the open net for her second of the season.
Just a few minutes later, the Breakers would break the shutout, as Julie King headed home her second of the season as Michelle Betos came well off her line to defend Eunice Beckmann's free kick in the 84th minute, giving the Breakers their lone goal of the night.
While the match appeared to be at hand, Nadim still had other ideas. In second half stoppage time, Stout pushed aside a shot from Tobin Heath, only to see the ball immediately headed into the back of the net by a leaping Nadim, netting herself a hat trick and giving her 8 goals on the season, putting her in a tie with Lynn William of the Western New York Flash for 2nd in the NWSL and only one goal behind league leader Kealia Ohai of the Houston Dash.
The Thorns will return to the pitch Wednesday evening at Providence Park, as they take on the Houston Dash (5-8-4, 19 pts.) at 7:00pm.
~Updates, including post game interviews, to follow. ~