Two weeks removed from a 2-0 loss to the Boston Breakers in front of a sold-out crowd at Jeld-Wen Field, the Portland Thorns returned the favor at Dilboy Stadium, coming through with a tremendous late-game effort to take Boston down 2-1.
Thorns break Boston on the road
Two weeks removed from a 2-0 loss to the Boston Breakers in front of a sold-out crowd at Jeld-Wen Field, the Portland Thorns returned the favor at Dilboy Stadium, coming through with a tremendous late-game effort to take Boston down 2-1. Both teams scored an early goal but went cold after that until Meleana Shim tallied the game-winner with less than four minutes left in regulation. It was Shim’s second straight game with a goal.
The Thorns’ cause was aided by the absence of Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who earned the shutout against Portland on July 6. Portland’s roster was bolstered by the return of Tobin Heath, the two-time Olympic gold medalist midfielder who has completed her contract with French club Paris Saint-Germain.
Much like the previous meeting, the Breakers got off to an early start, taking the lead in the 13th minute when midfielder Lianne Sanderson got an assist from Kyah Simon in the box and fired a shot past Thorns goalkeeper (and last week’s NWSL Player of the Week) Karina LeBlanc.
The Thorns were not alarmed, responding to the goal 11 minutes later as former Breakers defender Nikki
Marshall sent a long pass to Alex Morgan, who finessed the ball around fill-in goalkeeper Ashley Phillips to even the score. The goal was Morgan’s first since June 6.
LeBlanc was crucial for the Thorns on Sunday with four saves, the best of which came in the 67th minute as Sydney Leroux found herself unmarked at the top of the Thorns box and sent a rocket on goal that LeBlanc repelled with a diving effort.
The Thorns took 15 shots in the match (seven more than Boston) and finally converted one into a goal in the 86th minute as Shim directed a perfect shot from the right side to beat Phillips. Morgan was credited with the assist.
With the win, Portland improved to 9-4-3 this season and is currently in second place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings. The Breakers dropped to sixth place at 5-6-5, two spots out of playoff contention.
Portland heads home this weekend for a battle with the Chicago Red Stars on July 28 that will be broadcast nationally on Fox Soccer.