Portland Thorns and Houston Dash end Invitational with a tie
Forward Mallory Weber (center) as she flees from the Houston defense | Source: Portland Thorns

The hosts of this tournament, the Portland Thorns, faced the Houston Dash in the final match of the 2017 Portland Invitational.

Coming into this match, Thorns midfielder Tobin Heath had not been on the pitch again due to a minor back injury. Dash captain and forward Kealia Ohai also missed her second match with the Dash to report to the National team. With both teams missing these key players, their absence definitely had an impact on the final score of the game.

Houston shows strength in the first half

The Dash came out strong and had several shots on the Thorns goal within the first 10 minutes of the match.

The tables soon turned, through a set piece. Portland's Nadia Nadim took the ensuing free kick and Mana Shim timed the ball perfectly as she approached the top of the box to put the ball nicley into the net, giving the Portland Thorns the 1-0 lead. 

In the 17th minute of the match, Portland had an opportunity to double their lead. A shot towards the far right post was saved well by Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

During added time, the Dash managed to take a solid corner kick that added some drama, but it was stopped excellently by the Thorns' Britt Eckerstrom.

The halftime stats revealed that although the Dash came out strong and challenged the Portland defense, they only had a total of three shots. On the other hand, Portland had six shots, with one of them finding the back of the net, as well as six fouls, which showed that they were fighting hard for possession throughout the first half.

Dash goalkeeper Williams made five saves as the Thorns offense had numerous shots on targets.

The Portland Thorns came out with the first goal as the Houston Dash finalized the game to a 1-1 score. | Source: Portland Thorns
The Portland Thorns scored the first goal of the match. | Source: Portland Thorns

Thorns take the lead 

Both teams began the second 45 minutes with great intensity as both sides tried to find the go-ahead goal. 

One of which took place in the 75th minute as Mallory Weber of the Thorns came from behind of Benites to win a header and got caught up, with the unintentional foul called against Weber.  

Just after this incident, Rachel Daly attempted a shot towards the upper corner of the net. Eckerstrom could not quite reach the ball as Daly leveled the score at one wih 14 minutes remaining. 

Three minutes of stoppage time was added and Weber nearly tested the Dash goalkeeper with a decent effort, but missed the target. Then, the Brazilian Polina had to be tended to by the medical team for awhile, while she was laying on the field after taking a strong shot of the ball to her chest and left the field on a stretcher minutes before the whistle blew.

Despite the moments that were focused on Polina, both teams still had a few opportunities to claim the winning goal, but nothing came to fruition as the match ended with that same 1-1 score line.

Thoughts from the hosts

Head coach Mark Parsons of the Portland Thorns talked about the tournament overall after the final whistle and gave insight of tonight's match by sharing:

"Tonight, I love tonight, really enjoyed it. It felt like a regular season game. The energy, the outplays it brought. The fight and the outplays brought and then the real quality we played with. I thought we stretched them, I thought we got between them. It was a really fun night."