Portland Thorns FC edge Orlando Pride in home opener 2-1
Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair celebrate in today's Portland Thorns home opener | Source: Craig Mitchelldyer - Portland Thorns

For the third straight year, the Portland Thorns hosted the Orlando Pride at Providence Park for their home opener, and just like the previous times, Portland edged Orlando again.

In six meetings, one of those being in last season's semifinal match, Orlando has yet to beat the Thorns. Last season's home opener for the Thorns also resulted in a 2-0 win over the Pride. For Orlando, the closest they have come to getting the best of the Thorns was at their home game last season in a 0-0 draw.

Simply, Orlando cannot get the best of the two-time NWSL Champions, and though they were the first to get on the board, it was Portland who showed why they are the defending champions.

After the Pride scored in the 20th minute to take the 1-0 lead on a Chioma Ubogagu goal, Portland answered eight minutes later. Lindsey Horan scored the equalizer. The Thorns would seal the victory in the 39th minute thanks to a goal by Chrisine Sinclair. The second half was a back and forth affair as Orlando tried to equalize, to no avail.

In front of 16,466 fans who came to celebrate the 2017 NWSL Championship, the home opener did not disappoint.

A great turnout at Providence Park | Source: Portland Thorns
A great turnout at Providence Park | Source: Portland Thorns

Scoring Summary

20th minute - Christine Nairn found Chioma Ubogagu on the run in the 18. Ubogagu settled the ball before sending it into the goal for the 1-0 Orlando Pride lead.

28th minute - Lindsey Horan was left open to send a soaring shot towards the goal outside the box, even as three Orlando defenders were nearby but did not pressure Horan.

39th minute - Meghan Klingenberg passed the ball to Horan on the left sideline. Horan sent a cross into the box that fell in between two Pride defenders landing right by Christine Sinclair, who tapped it in for her third goal of the year. The goal was also her 34th all-time regular season goal.

Game Notes
  1. Switzerland international Ana-Maria Crnogorčević made her NWSL debut in the 60th minute. Crnogorčević signed with the Thorns in March and joined the team this week.
  2. Ashlyn Harris recorded six saves.
  3. This was Portland's sixth straight home opener with a win.
  4. Portland is now  to 5-0-1 all-time against the Pride, including the 2017 semi-final 4-1 victory on October 7, 2017.
  5. Alex Morgan returned to the lineup after missing week 2 due to concussion protocol.
  6. The Pride were missing five players due to Women's World Cup Qualifying: Brazilian internationals Marta, Monica, and Poliana and Australia interntionals Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond.
  7. Orlando forward Rachel Hill missed the game due to a right quad strain.
  8. Tobin Heath was on the bench but did not see time on the field.

The Thorns will next welcome the Washington Spirit for a Friday night match. The Pride will return to Orlando City Stadium after two games on the road. They will welcome the Houston Dash on Sunday afternoon.