Portland Thorns FC earn a 3-1 victory over the Orlando Pride
Portland Thorns celebrates Andressinha’s golazo (photo: Getty Images)

Portland Thorns FC earn a 3-1 victory over the Orlando Pride

Without many of their starters, both teams faced each other for the second time this season in Orlando’s territory. It was a good test for these teams who are still trying to find their game in this bizarre season.

melinae
Melina Gaspar

The Orlando Pride suffered their fifth loss of the season in the National Women's Soccer League when they went down to a three-one loss to Portland Thorns FC.

The loss leaves Orlando rooted to the bottom of the table, struggling with form under new head coach Marc Skinner, while Portland have move into fifth and have seemingly adjusted well to all their absentee players currently on international duty.

A quick start by Orlando is nullified by Portland

Things started brightly for the Orlando Pride, looking dangerous, crossing the ball into the Thorns' box countless times. So much so that in the 10th minute the home team found its second goal of the season. A corner sent to the box by Carson Pickett and headed inside the goal by Toni Pressley gave the Pride the lead.

After that Portland started to gain territory little by little and started to connect its lines. An effort made by Portland in the 28th minute put things even. Celeste Boureille appeared out of nowhere after a cleared ball and shot it but the ball hit the post. Dagný Brynjarsdóttir took the rebound and put it in the back of the net after sliding to gain that ball.

Orlando’s defence started to shake, with the Thorns using their flanks. And in the 35th minute Ellie Carpenter was taken down in the top of the box by Rachel Hill and a free kick was awarded. Andressinha took that ball and netted home with a great kick, leaving Haley Kopmeyer with no chance to save it.

The Matildas come to the fore for Portland

Head coach Mark Parsons made the first substitution at the beginning of the second half, subbing in Hayley Raso for Ana Maria Crnogorčevič. It was the first match of the season for Raso and we could see the palpable connection between the three Australians in the team, creating dangerous plays for the Thorns. 

So much so that it was that connection the one who brought the third goal for Portland. The magic touches of Carpenter inside the box in front of Hill gave the team an opportunity but Pickett’s poor clearance made the ball fell to Foord’s feet and her shot found home, putting the visitors 3-1.

Margaret Purce came in into the match in 61st minute in order to make things more difficult for the Pride defence and she did just so. 

Four minutes after being subbed in, she was fouled inside the box by Pressley and a penalty kick was awarded. Foord took charge but Kopmeyer came up big and save the shot not once but twice.

Portland kept pressing by Raso and Purce up high but couldn’t find another goal. 

Orlando never said die and Marta, who still has to find her goal this season, created many opportunities in the last ten minutes but couldn’t connect with the rest of the forwards in her team.

A weather delay at the end of the match left two minutes to play but after the game resumed nothing noteworthy happened, except for the yellow card Marta received. After that the final whistle blew.

Emily Menges contains Marta in her debut in the season (photo: Getty Images)
Emily Menges contains Marta in her debut in the season (photo: Getty Images)

Absentees and returnees

In this World Cup year, the league will be flooded with players coming and going on and off the teams. 

For the Pride we could see that, besides the United States Women's National Team stars absence, Alanna Kennedy missed the match because of a quad injury, as well as Kristen Edmunds with a knee injury. Shelina Zadorsky also missed the match since all Canadians internationals are now at camp. 

For Portland, captain Christine Sinclair is in camp with Canada. But in the bright side key player Emily Menges is back and her presence in the backline was noteworthy and also got the captain band, proving how important she is for the team. Australian Raso was also back after her visa problems and is always nice to see her feisty attitude and how she’s always in the move, making difficult for the rival defence to cover her. 

Next week the Thorns will face Washington Spirit, while Orlando will have a by week which will allow them to rest and regroup after their rough start of the season.

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