Portland Thorns edge out the Chicago Red Stars in the Invitational Opener (1-0)
Christian Press fights past Emily Sonnett in NWSL match last season. | Photo: Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns edge out the Chicago Red Stars in the Invitational Opener (1-0)

hannah-roberts
Hannah Roberts
Portland ThornsFranch, Boureille (Flynn, min 74), Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg (Johnson, min 58), Long, Shim (Herndon, min 70), Henry, Nadim (Raso (Hubly, min 74), min 39), Sinclair, Weber (Cox, min 74)
Chicago Red StarsDalton, Gilliland, Naughton, Johnson, Short (Proffitt, min 46), Mautz, DiBernardo (Luba, min 46), Colaprico (Comeau, min 46), Raetzman (Kaskie, min 60), McCaffrey (Kolander, min 60), Walls (Green, min 60)
SCORE1-0, min 26, Nadim
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I've been Hannah Roberts, thanks for following VAVEL USA's coverage of the 2017 Portland Thorns Invitational!

The next round of fixtures is on Wednesday, when the Chicago Red Stars face Houston Dash and Portland Thorns play the USWNT U23s.

This game really showcased the strength in depth of these sides - particularly that of Chicago Red Stars. Both teams will have plenty of positives to take from today's game into the rest of the tournament and the season ahead.

The first half was a pretty even affair, but the Portland Thorns dominated the second. A late flurry of chances for the Chicago Red Stars wasn't enough to pull level after Nadim's first half penalty.

Full time: Portland Thorns 1-0 Chicago Red Stars

89' Chicago Red Stars break and Luba has her effort tipped over the bar!

86' Chicago Red Stars have opportunites through Mautz and Kaskie but they can't test Franch.

85' Proffitt uses her strength to hold off her defender, but the resultant shot is well wide. Straight after, Luba curls an effort over.

83' Both sides are tiring a bit here, and this is working to the Portland Thorns' advantage as they continue playing their possession style.

74' Herndon, Hubly, Cox and Flynn replace Shim, Raso, Weber and Boureille for the Portland Thorns.

73' Raso is helped off the pitch. Franch does well to smother a through-ball from Green

71' Lengthy delay in play here as Raso is down injured after a coming together with Kaskie.

66' Portland Thorns get the ball in the back of the net, but Long was offside when she headed home. Still 1-0.

64' Nice ball towards Long is gobbled up by Dalton on the edge of her area.

63' It looked for a moment that Kolander was in behind but an excellent sliding tackle from Sonnett prevents any shot on goal.

60' More changes for Chicago Red Stars, as Kolander, Kaskie and Green come on for McCaffrey, Raetzman, and Walls.

58' Substitute for Portland Thorns, as Johnson replaces Klingenberg.

55' Proffitt hits the free kick into the Portland Thorns wall.

55' McCaffrey shows good strength to hold off Sonnett, who eventually fouls her. Dangerous free kick coming up for the Chicago Red Stars.

53' A shot from distance by Long takes a couple of deflections, and heads over the byline for a corner.

49' Portland Thorns start the half on the front foot but can't test Dalton after a spell of possession around the box.

Plenty of subs at half-time. For Chicago Red StarsProffitt, ComeauLuba in for ShortColaprico, and DiBernardo.

46' Portland Thorns get the second half underway.

Half-time: Portland Thorns 1-0 Chicago Red StarsNadia Nadim's penalty is the difference at the break, after 45 minutes of a closely contested match.

41' Portland Thorns have done a good job so far of heading away all the corner chances that the Chicago Red Stars have.

40' Short finds space in the box for a shot - blocked out for a corner.

38' Portland Thorns Sub: Raso on, Nadim off

37' Brilliant cross from Short finds Mautz are the back post but her header goes over.

30' Sinclair takes a nice touch to make space for the shot but her effort is a simple save for Dalton.

26' GOAL PORTLANDNadim emphatically puts the penalty into the upper right corner.

25' Penalty to Portland Thorns. Shim knocked the ball in towards Long, and Gorden takes her down from behind.

24' Two good chances for Chicago Red Stars - first, Walls can't properly connect with DiBernardo's cross, before Gilliland cuts the ball back for Mautz but the shot is blocked.

23' Shim has Portland Thorns's first real attempt on goal, but her effort is smothered by Dalton.

22' Portland Thorns are looking to play out of the back here but the Chicago Red Stars aren't making it easy for them.

21' McCaffrey picks up an errant back pass, and faces up to three defenders; she's able to earn a corner.

19' Chicago Red Stars work the ball up field but Henry tracks back to break up the play. Gilliland has a shot from distant that goes harmlessly wide.

15' Portland Thorns find themselves in a 3 v 2 situation, but Klingenberg's decision making is poor and Naughton is able to get back and block the cross.

14' After nice passing out of the back, Weber makes a strong drive through the heart of the midfield but is eventually dispossessed by Chicago Red Stars.

13' A very well struck free kick from about 30 yards out from DiBernardo has Franch flying to her left side to make the save, and she does really well to hold on to it.

10' A couple of heavy touches from Franch in the Portland Thorns goal go unpunished, but only just as the Chicago Red Stars forwards closed her down.

8' Raetzman, on her first start for the Chicago Red Stars, sends a swerving left-footed effort goalwards from outside the box, and is unlucky to see it cannon off the crossbar!

4' Looking at the lineups, it appears Gorden has started for Chicago Red Stars in the place of Johnson.

4' Shim whips a ball in but it evades Long and Dalton claims it.

2' Early corner taken for Chicago Red Stars, but Franch is fouled in the box and the free kick is awarded to Portland Thorns.

Chicago Red Stars get us underway!

The teams are walking out into the Portland drizzle... Kick off is just moments away!

Chicago Red Stars Starting 11: Dalton, Gilliland, Naughton, Johnson, Short, Mautz, DiBernardo, Colaprico, Raetzman, McCaffrey, Walls

Portland Thorns Starting 11: Franch, Boureille, Sonnett, Menges, Kling, Long, Shim, Henry, Nadim, Sinclair (c), Weber

It's 20 minutes until kick off, and the starting lineups are in...

This match will be played at Providence ParkPortland, Oregon on March 25 2017. The game is set to kick off at 5pm PT.

Both these sides have a lot to prove as they head into the National Women's Soccer League season as aspiring championship winners, so you can expect no holding back in this game.

This being said, you can expect plenty of rotation from both sides as they assess potential new players and combinations for the season ahead, as there is now less than a month from the opening round of fixtures.

This is the first times the teams will meet since June 2016, when the Thorns beat the Red Stars by a 2-0 scoreline at today's venue of Providence Park. Games between these two sides have historically been very tight, as the clash in styles more often than not ends in a stalemate. 

Read further about the Chicago Red Stars and their outlook on this tournament with VAVEL USA's team preview.

On the flip side, the Chicago Red Stars had some ups and downs but ultimately finished in third, before also losing in their semi; 2-1 to the Washington Spirit in added time. The Red Stars have long been known for their defensive solidity - a mindset which resonates not just through the backline but in the entire team. Rory Dame's side always likes to play a high-pressure, high-speed game with quick ball movement. Key players include the likes of Danielle Colaprico, who is capable of breaking up play and using the ball quickly. Although Chicago have difficulty getting the ball in the back of the net, star striker Christen Press poses a constant threat with her ability to beat players and shoot from long-range. How well Portland are able to defend Press will be a big factor in the outcome of this game. 

With the tournament being hosted in Portland, the Thorns will be vying to make a good impression on their fans new and old. You can read more about what to expect from the Portland Thorns this tournament with VAVEL USA's team preview.

Last season the Portland Thorns finished at the top of the league standings, but bowed out in the semi-final to eventual champions, the Western New York Flash. The Thorns have a wealth of attacking talent with the likes of Tobin HeathNadia Nadim, and Christine Sinclair in their front line. They were the second highest scoring team last season - but it is also hard to acknowledge a defense which shipped the fewest goals of any team in 2016. Rising United States Women's National Team star centre-back Emily Sonnett was key to this, and she will be hoping to recreate that form for this tournament, and the rest of her sophomore season.

Welcome to VAVEL USA's LIVE coverage of the 2017 Portland Thorns Invitational! The second game of the day sees hosts Portland Thorns take on the Chicago Red Stars. My name is Hannah Roberts and I will be your host for this game.

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