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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Thorns stay in the hunt for the No. 2 seed with a 1-0 win over the Spirit
The Thorns will play the Reign for the No. 2 seed on September 7

Tobin Heath scored the game’s only goal as Portland Thorns FC spoiled the Washington Spirit’s party at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night. The game marked the first women’s professional soccer match at the new stadium in the nation’s capital and drew a Spirit club record 7,976 fans.

The win keeps the Thorns (11-6-6, 39 points) in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NWSL Playoffs. A win over Seattle Reign FC on September 7 will see the Thorns clinch a home playoff game, which would then be vs. Seattle Reign FC the next weekend. A win or draw for the Reign means that they will host a semifinal. Seattle could’ve clinched the home playoff game with a win earlier in the day, but left the door open after giving up a late goal to the Courage and only earning a draw.

“We’re all super excited,” Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch told Dalen Cuff on ESPNews after the game. “We set our destiny.”

The loss drops the Spirit to 2-17-4, their 14th straight game without a win and 10th straight loss. They have only scored one goal since May 27. It was the second game for the Spirit under interim coach Tom Torres, who took over following the departure of Jim Gabarra on Tuesday.

The Thorns scored their goal in the 15th minute, when Heath won a 1v1 in the box vs. Spirit defender Taylor Smith and then roofed it past goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. Hayley Raso found Heath with a cross into the box to earn the assist. It’s Heath’s sixth goal of the season, and her third straight game with a goal.

The Spirit had a chance to equalize in the 33rd minute, but Franch pushed aside Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle‘s shot.

The Thorns had a few more chances on offense, but could not come away with another goal. In the 55th minute, Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan came up with a clearance inside the box as Portland had a chance to add to their lead.

A few minutes later, Sullivan cleared Lindsey Horan‘s shot off the line.

In the 66th minute, Bledsoe made the stop vs. Ana-Maria Crnogorčević.

The Spirit had a look at an equalizer in the 72nd minute, but Caprice Dydasco‘s shot went just over the crossbar.

Then in the 88th minute, Franch made a leaping grab on a corner kick to keep the ball away from Arielle Ship.

It was Ship’s 2018 NWSL debut, after tearing her ACL near the end of last season.

Raso left the match in the 60th minute with a lower back injury after going up on a challenge in the box vs. Bledsoe. She was replaced in the match by Caitlin FoordMeghan Klingenberg was a late scratch from the starting lineup and was replaced by Midge Purce.

The Thorns have only one game remaining — the match with the Reign on September 7. The Spirit have just one as well — Saturday, September 1, at home vs. Sky Blue FC.

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