Thorns win home opener, 2-1 over Pride
The Thorns are 6-0-0 in home openers

Portland Thorns FC won their sixth straight home opener on Sunday afternoon — a 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride at Providence Park. A crowd of 16,466 came out in the rain to welcome the Thorns for their first home game since winning the 2017 NWSL Championship last October.


The Thorns have never gotten less than three points in a home opener in their NWSL history. Portland also improved to 5-0-1 all-time against the Pride, including the playoffs.


Portland improves to 2-1-0 with the win, while the Pride are now 0-2-1.


Orlando jumped out to an early lead in the game, with a goal in the 20th minute. After a foul called against the Pride, Thorns defender Emily Sonnett tried to take a quick restart, but Pride midfielder Christine Nairn read the play and won the ball away from Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan. It looked like Nairn might take the shot herself, but she passed to Chioma Ubogagu in the box, open in between two Portland defenders. Ubogagu took a few touches before sending a left-footed shot to the far corner to beat Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.




But Horan equalized just eight minutes later with a shot from distance that beat Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, bounced off the post and over the goal line. Horan started the play with a run through midfield, before the ball eventually went to Christine Sinclair. The Thorns captain drew several Pride defenders and dished back to Horan, who found space to dial up the left-footed shot.



Sinclair scored the game-winner in the 39th minute, and now leads the NWSL with three goals. Meghan Klingenberg found Horan in space on the left sideline. Horan served a cross into the box that fell in between the Pride defense and right to Sinclair, who tapped it in for her third goal of the year, and her 34th all-time regular season goal.


Thorns forward Ana-Maria Crnogorčević made her NWSL debut in the 60th minute. Crnogorčević, Switzerland’s all-time leading scorer, signed with the Thorns in March and joined the team this week. She nearly got her first NWSL goal in the 67th minute, but couldn’t quite get the timing right on her shot.


Harris was called on to make six saves, including a strong effort on a Tyler Lussi shot in the 17th minute — on a play that also included a diving block from Sydney Leroux.



The Pride were once again without a number of players because of international duty — most notably Marta, the club’s all-time leader in goals scored. Ubogagu’s goal was the first goal they scored without Marta on the field since 2016, before she joined the team. They were also without Monica (Brazil), Poliana (Brazil), Alanna Kennedy (Australia) and Emily van Egmond (Australia) because of Women’s World Cup qualifiers for both countries. Forward Rachel Hill also missed the game because of a right quad strain.


Alex Morgan rejoined the team after missing Week 2 with a concussion, but did not see much of the ball on Sunday. As a team, Orlando only connected for one shot on goal, the one that Ubogagu scored on.


Portland, too, was short-handed because of international duty, missing Andressinha (Brazil), Caitlin Foord (Australia), Ellie Carpenter (Australia) and Hayley Raso (Australia).


Tobin Heath was available on the bench for the Thorns, but did not see her first minutes of 2018 following offseason ankle surgery. Defender Emily Menges (right tibia stress syndrome) missed her third straight game due to injury.  


The Thorns will next take on the Washington Spirit at home on Friday night. The Pride will head home to welcome the Houston Dash on Sunday afternoon.



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