LISLE, Ill. – Two second half goals was all it took for the Portland Thorns FC (2-0-1, 7pts) to emerge victorious over the host Chicago Red Stars (0-1-1, 1pt), in front of 2,855 at Benedictine University Sports Complex in Lisle, Illinois.
Thorns forward Danielle Foxhoven scored the first goal of the match in 70th minute and forward Christine Sinclair added an insurance goal 11 minutes later, while Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc recorded her first clean sheet of the young season.
Both teams came out with a lot of energy, as the match started out back and forth, with both teams looked to feel each other out by sending probing balls down the field and looking to catch the other off guard. Around the 10th minute, the Thorns had several solid attempts, as forward Alex Morgan had three strong scoring chances, forcing Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod to make two solid saves, while the other attempt sailed over the crossbar.
As the game continued to take shape, both teams made several solid runs of possession in the middle of the field, with several attacks keeping each team’s respective Canadian international goalkeeper on their toes. In the 20th minute, Sinclair looked to take a long-distance shot that was blocked by the defense, while the Red Stars made several attempts to get past the Thorns defense, but neither team got anything to show from it, and both teams went into the locker room scoreless.
While the Thorns statically dominated the first half, taking 5 shots, with 3 of those on frame, Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone was looking for more. “I felt we did a great job of possessing in the first half but it was mostly in our defensive half and in the middle of the field.”
As the teams emerged from the break, both looked to come out strong and take the game. Chicago came out strong, with several solid attempts in the first 10 minutes, most notably attacks by midfielders Lori Chalupny and Zakiya Bywaters, though neither yielded a goal, while the Thorns countered with solid attacking runs from Morgan, Sinclair, midfielder Nikki Washington, and Foxhoven, who replaced midfielder Angie Kerr at the start of the second half.
As Portland sustained their attack, they were finally able to break through in the 70th minute, as Foxhoven tallied her first goal in the Portland kit. Off a Morgan attack, McLeod came off her line to block the shot, which fell perfectly to Foxhoven, who easily put it in the back of the net.
“Danielle’s sort of our super sub. She comes in, she lifts the energy, she’s good on the ball and she’s going to work hard,” said Morgan after the match. “Tonight, that hard work paid off.”
Starting to feel their backs against the wall, Red Stars coach Rory Dames make some tactical adjustments, swapping midfielders Shannon Boxx and Alyssa Mautz for forwards Maribel Dominguez and Jessica McDonald, hoping to at least bring the score level. While the shift in tactics was noticeable, it was the Thorns who scored next.
In the 81st minute, Sinclair added her league-leading second goal of the season, off a solid passing combination from Morgan and Foxhoven, who opened up the Red Stars defense, leaving Sinclair unmarked and easily able to put the ball in the back of the net.
As time continued to click off the clock, the Red Stars pushed more and more, but were unable to break through. Their best chance was a hopeful cross from defender Rachel Quon to midfielder Julianne Sitch, which forced LeBlanc to make a big save in the 86th minute, but the game closed out without anther score for either side.
With their second victory in a row, the Thorns remain at the top of the table with 7 points, while the Red Stars stay in a three-way tie for 6th place with Western New York and Seattle.
Even with the loss, Dames saw the positives, “I don’t think we have a lot of things to correct. We just need to keep getting better.”
On the game, the Thorns had 13 total shots, with 9 of them on target, led by Morgan’s 4 shots on goal on 4 attempts, while the Red Stars had 8 shots, with 3 on target, with Chalupny taking 5 shots, 2 of them on frame. Morgan (11) and Chalupny (9) currently sit 1st and 2nd in shots attempted through Week 3 of the NWSL season.
The Thorns will continue their three match road trip, traveling to face the Washington Spirit (0-2-0, 2pts) on Saturday, May 4th at 7:00pm EDT (4:00pm PDT) at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD, before returning to Chicago on Sunday, May 12.
The Red Stars will next kick off a busy stretch of their schedule, heading on a two match road trip, traveling to face the Boston Breakers (1-1-0, 4pts) at Dilboy Stadium on Saturday, May 4 at 7:00pm EDT (6:00pm CDT) and then heading to New Jersey to face Sky Blue FC (2-0-0, 6pts) at Yurcak Field at Rutgers University on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:00pm EDT (6:00pm CDT).
Portland Thorns FC (2-0-1, 7pts) vs. Chicago Red Stars (0-1-1, 1pts)
April 27, 2013 – Benedictine Sports Complex (Lisle, Ill.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 0 2 2
CHI 0 0 0
POR – Foxhoven 70
POR – Sinclair (Morgan) 81
CHI – Mautz (caution) 69
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall, M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long (Courtney Wetzel, 89), M Angie Kerr (Danielle Foxhoven, 46), F Nikki Washington, F Christine Sinclair, F Alex Morgan (Elizabeth Guess, 90)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Morgan, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Morgan, 4); FOULS: 9 (Edwards, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3
CHI: GK Erin McLeod; D Taryn Hemmings, D Carmelina Moscato, D Rachel Quon, D Lydia Vandenbergh, M Zakiya Bywaters (Julianne Sitch, 68), M Shannon Boxx (Maribel Dominguez, 78, M Lori Chalupny, M Leslie Osborne, M Alyssa Mautz (Jessica McDonald, 71), F Ella Masar
Substitutes Not Used: GK Taylor Vancil, D Jacqueline Santacaterina, D Michelle Wenino, M Dinora Garza, F Lauren Fowlkes, F Hanna Gilmore
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Chalupny, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Chalupny, 2); FOULS: 10 (Chalupny, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 7
Referee: Katja Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Jason White
Fourth Official: Donovan Noocha
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial