NWSL: Chicago Red Stars defeated by Portland Thorns
The National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars defeated by Portland Thorns in mid-week play. The Thorns move into first place in the NWSL.
The NWSL returned to action for two mid-week fixtures as first place Chicago Red Stars traveled to Portland to take on the second place Thorns. Chicago Red Stars were defeated by Portland Thorns in the league’s battle of the top teams in comfortable fashion with goals from Canadian international Christine Sinclair and a goal from Nadia Nadim.
The NWSL’s top two sides played in front of more than 16,000 fans at Providence Park in the Rose City, and Thorns’ supporters turned out in droves. Portland and Chicago played for the second time in 11 days after the two clubs played in week 8, drawing 1-1 in Chicago.
It took Portland just six minutes to score after kick-off. Sinclair scored her third goal in the Thorns’ last three matches as she beat Red Stars’ goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Chicago defender Julie Johnston made an errant pass that was controlled by Sinclair before she shot past Naeher to put the home side on top.
Nadim added her third of the season just 19 minutes later as the Thorns put the match to bed in the opening half an hour. The Red Stars were unable to rebound, giving Portland Thorns the top spot in the NWSL going into the weekend’s fixtures.
Portland have the opportunity to increase their lead over the chasing pack this weekend as the Thorns will travel to Florida to play Orlando Pride on Sunday. The two clubs met in week 1 of the regular season with the Thorns winning 2-1, in Portland.
Orlando Pride 1-0 Houston Dash
In another mid-week NWSL fixture, the Pride were victorious over the second to bottom Houston Dash. The Pride are unbeaten at home this term after a late winner from Orlando’s Jasmyne Spencer.
The Dash had the best of the early chances, however, Houston paid for their poor finishing. As the game went on it looked likely that the match would finish nil-nil. Yet, second half substitute Spencer popped up and volleyed Sarah Hagen’s cross into the back of the Dash’s net. Houston’s defense was in shambles as Spencer found herself all alone to meet Hagen’s cross.
Orlando now sit on 15 points, five behind leaders Portland. Orlando will have a further chance to cut into that five point gap when the two sides play over the weekend.
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.