NWSL: Portland Thorns claim important win

The National Women’s Soccer League’s Portland Thorns claim important win. Thorns defeated first place Washington Spirit in NWSL goal fest.

The NWSL’s sixth matchday saw goals galore as 17 were scored across the league’s five fixtures. The Western New York Flash got back to winning ways by downing Sky Blue FC 5-2 at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, New York.

Western New York’s Jess McDonald got the Flash off to a flying start in the 5th minute. McDonald headed in Jaelene Hinkle’s corner kick as she freed herself of her marker. Sam Mewis doubled the Flash’s lead in the 19th minute with a header of her own, beating Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Stanley. Lynn Williams added to Sky Blue’s misery as she made the scoreline 3-0 in the 23rd minute. McDonald then got her second of the match in first half stoppage-time, putting the game well out of reach going into halftime.

Just after the break US international Kelly O’Hara registered a goal for Sky Blue, igniting hopes of a comeback. Yet, any thought of a fight back was quelled just after the hour mark as Hinkle picked up her second assists, finding Michaela Hahn, who scored past Stanley. Sky Blue did get a consolation goal just before the final whistle as Sarah Killion scored from the penalty spot to finish the game 5-2 in favor of the Flash. The win takes Western New York to nine points after six matches.

In the big match of the NWSL week, the Portland Thorns defeated Washington Spirit 4-1. The Thorns are now unbeaten in their last six matches as Portland overpowered Washington with three first half goals. Tobin Heath picked up her fifth assist of the NWSL season as she found Lindsey Horan in the 27th minute to put Portland ahead. Minutes later Christine Sinclair’s cross was cleared straight into Spirit defender Alyssa Kleiner. The ball then ricocheted into the back of Washington’s goal.

Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit: Highlights – May 21, 2016

Uploaded by NWSLsoccer on 2016-05-23.

On the stroke of halftime, Sinclair chipped a pass to Heath to slot home, putting Portland up 3-0 at the break. Joanna Lohman gave the Spirit some hope of a comeback on 55 minutes, but Portland held on. Meg Morris put the match to bed in the 78th minute after picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box before shooting past Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. Portland currently sit third on 12 points.

The Chicago Red Stars are now level on points with Washington following their 2-1 win over Seattle Reign. Jen Hoy scored twice for the Red Stars before Seattle pulled a goal back in the 89th minute courtesy of a Kim Little penalty. Chicago is now undefeated in it is last five matches.

Seattle Reign FC vs. Chicago Red Stars: Highlights – May 22, 2016

Uploaded by NWSLsoccer on 2016-05-23.

The Boston Breakers are off the foot of the NWSL table after picking up their first win of 2016. The Breakers defeated FC Kansas City 1-0 in Boston thanks to centerback Whitney Engen’s goal. Kansas City replaces Boston in last place and is the only winless team this term.

Finally, the Orlando Pride kept pace with the NWSL’s front runners with a hard fought 1-0 win over Houston Dash. It was Orlando’s first win away from home this season as Kristen Edmonds scored the game’s lone goal in the 81st minute. The win takes Orlando to 12 points on the season as the Pride occupy fourth place.

As with all NWSL games, fans can watch all the matches in full on YouTube.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @DrewMFarmer. Check out his latest book, Soccer Travels, in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com.

Drew Farmer
I am a freelance journalist and author currently living in Manchester, England. Originally from the USA, I have written about sports and travel for years.I have written for Hopeless Football Romantic magazine, The Football Pink magazine, World Soccer Talk, Sports Collectors Daily, Forza Italian Football and many more. My debut book Soccer Travels was released in spring 2016, and details travelling to soccer matches around the globe. It can be purchased on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.