Horan, Heath, Crnogorcevic lead Portland to 4-0 win over Utah
Heath scored just 60 seconds into the match

The Thorns scored early and often as they beat Utah Royals FC 4-0 on Friday night at Providence Park.

The win for the Thorns vaults them back into one of the four playoff spots — in third place for the moment as Week 15 continues on Saturday. They are now 6-5-5 with 23 points. Utah drops to sixth place with a 5-4-6 record (15 points).

Utah Royals FC came into the game having conceded the fewest goals in the league, but left the match having conceded the third-fewest. The four goals was the most they’ve allowed in franchise history. In fact, they’d never allowed more than two goals in a game before Friday night.

Tobin Heath scored just 60 seconds into the game on an assist from Ana Crnogorčević, a well-placed looping chip that dipped under the crossbar at just the right moment.

The Thorns added their second and third goals of the night in a quick two minute span later in the first half.

First, Lindsey Horan headed home a Heath free kick in the 32nd minute. Thorns defender Midge Purce was fouled by Sam Johnson to set up the free kick and Johnson received a yellow card on the play. Horan is now tied with Christine Sinclair and Crystal Dunn for the league-lead with seven goals.

Then in the 34th minute, Crnogorčević got a goal of her own on a play that started with a Horan steal.

Then Tyler Lussi scored in the 62nd minute, 31 seconds after she stepped onto the field as a sub for Heath. Lussi ran onto the end of a through ball from Horan for her first goal of the season — on her first touch of the game. It’s Horan’s second assist of the season.

Horan finished the game with a game-high 73 total touches, 52 pass attempts (77% accuracy) and two chances created to go with her goal and assist. She also had 20 total duels won, nine aerial duels won, two interceptions, three clearances and one block. Her eight header goals are the most for any NWSL player over the past three seasons.

Horan, Heath and Crnogorčević all recorded a goal and an assist in the match, the first time this season that three players on the season have done so.

Adrianna Franch made three saves in the match, none bigger than a leaping grab on a Katrina Gorry shot from outside the box in the 56th minute. Franch rose up, caught it with both hands and didn’t give up a rebound. It’s Franch’s first clean sheet of the season.


Purce left the match with a right ankle injury at halftime after a late foul from Utah’s Diana Matheson, who was issued a yellow card on the play. Purce was replaced by Mallory Weber and Crnogorčević slid into Purce’s left back spot.

As they usually do, Utah Royals FC won the possession battle, 52.3% to 47.7%, with most of that coming in the second half. The Thorns took more shots (9-7) and shots on goal (6-3).

The Thorns have some extra days to rest as they won’t be in action again until July 15 at home vs. the Houston Dash. Utah Royals FC will next be in action on Wednesday night on the road at Seattle Reign FC.

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