Thorns come back for 2-2 draw vs. Red Stars
Thorns and Red Stars split the points on Saturday night
Christine Sinclair scored in Portland's 2-2 draw with Chicago in Week 21. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/
Christine Sinclair scored in Portland's 2-2 draw with Chicago in Week 21. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/

The Chicago Red Stars took a 2-0 lead, but Portland Thorns FC stormed back with two goals of their own and the teams split the points with a 2-2 draw in front of 18,631 fans at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

The Thorns are now 9-6-6 with 33 points and in third place. The Red Stars are now 7-4-10 with 31 points and in fourth place. The standings could change on Sunday morning when the Pride (8-7-6, 30 points) resume their lightning-suspended match with the Courage.

The Red Stars took the lead courtesy of a Sam Kerr brace. Her first goal coming at the end of the first half and then her second at the start of the second half. Kerr now leads the Golden Boot race with 12 goals, jumping ahead of Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan.

Kerr’s first came in the 44th minute following a strong individual effort in the box to get around Thorns defender Emily Sonnett and then hit her shot past goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato earned her sixth assist of the year on the goal, all of which have come on Kerr goals.

Her second goal came in the 48th minute, a header in the box to finish off a cross from Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo to put the Red Stars up 2-0.

Kerr’s 12 goals have come in 16 games for the Red Stars. She also has two assists.

The Thorns started their comeback in the 60th minute with a goal from Tobin Heath. Thorns forward Christine Sinclair took a pass from Heath near the midfield sideline and put on a spin move to escape pressure from Red Stars midfielder Nikki Stanton, before taking the ball into the final third. The Thorns had one opportunity cleared out of the box by the Red Stars, but the Thorns retained possession — and eventually Ellie Carpenter served the ball back into the area and towards the head of Horan. Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher came off her line to punch the ball away from Horan, but only as far as Heath, who headed it into the open net to get Portland their first goal of the game.

And then it was Sinclair who scored the game’s final goal in the 69th minute. Sinclair sprung Heath down the right sideline and then Heath served a low cross back into the box as Sinclair and Caitlin Foord ran into the path of the ball. Foord let the pass go behind her and to a wide-open Sinclair, who slid and finished it off with her left foot.

It’s Sinclair’s eighth goal of the season to go with six assists.

The Red Stars had one late chance to get the win on a shot by DiBernardo, but Franch got both hands on the shot to tip it off the post.

The Thorns finished the match with the better of possession, 54.2% to 45.8%. The Red Stars took more shots (18-7) and shots on goal (7-4).

The Red Stars will next face their nearest playoff competitor, the Orlando Pride, on the road on Saturday night. The Thorns next face Sky Blue FC at home on Wednesday night and then will head to Washington, D.C., to face the Spirit at Audi Field on Saturday.



Correction: An earlier version of this recap said the Red Stars held the possession edge in this match. It was the Thorns.

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