For the first ever NWSL game on ESPNews the two teams battled it out for a 1-1 draw on Saturday night. The Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns both take home a point for the week and will sit in fifth and sixth place in the standings.
A PK was the difference at the half
Both teams came out for the second time this season at Toyota Park and were ready for a battle. The main difference was that Chicago was really ready to battle. Portland had one too many defensive errors that led to chances from Chicago stars, Sam Kerr and Yuki Nagasato in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the match. Once Portland finally settled into the game, it became a much more even match-up. Although a big difference between the two was that Portland wasn't able to connect with any of their forwards up top and Chicago's midfield dominated the first half.
The only difference maker in the first half was a 42nd minute penalty kick that led to a Chicago goal. Portland defender, Kelli Hubly took down Kerr in the box late into the half which then led to a PK for the Red Stars. Nagasato stepped up to the spot but Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstorm was there to block the attempt. Unfortunately for the Thorns, they weren't able to clear the blocked ball and Nagasato converted her miss PK to give Chicago the lead heading into the locker room.
Portland equalizes and injured players return
Just three minutes after the whistle blew to signal the second half, the Thorns got onto the board to tie the game. Michele Vasconcelos fouled Lindsay Horan outside of the book to award the Thorns a free kick. Andressinha stepped up to take the kick that landed right at the edge of the six-yard box. In true Horan fashion, Horan was able to send a one time shot pass Alyssa Naeher and into the back of the net for the equalizer.
After this, the game remained even for the rest of the match. Three yellow cards were handed out and many substitutions were made but no more goals were scored. Both teams had chances but neither of them were able to convert. The match ended with Chicago leading with 19 shots and seven shots on goal. Luckily for Portland, Eckerstorm came up with six saves that allowed them to finish the match tied.
- Tobin Heath and Midge Purce were both out of the game day roster due to injuries abstained from national team camp.
- Emily Sonnett returned to the bench after being out with a back injury but did not get any minutes.
- Hayley Raso made her 2018 NWSL season debut after suffering a knee injury while playing in Australia.
- Lindsay Horan earned her fifth yellow card on the season and will have to sit out for the match against the Houston Dash on Friday, June 22nd.
- Sofia Huerta, Taylor Comeau, Samantha Johnson and Lauren Kaskie were unavailable for the Red Stars due to a pending three way trade between Chicago, Houston and Utah Royals FC.
- Vanessa Dibernardo and Casey Short also made their season debuts for the Red Stars after suffering injuries.
Portland will play seventh place Houston Dash in a Friday night match-up at 8:30pm ET. Chicago will then host Utah on Saturday, June 23rd at 8:00pm ET.