PORTLAND, Ore.- A new rendition of the Cascadia Derby got off to a good start for the Portland Thorns FC (1-0-1, 4pts), as they played host to the Seattle Reign FC (0-1-1, 1pt) in the first meeting of the young NWSL season in front of a record crowd of 16,479, outdrawing any match during the short tenure of the WPS.
“It was incredible, when we jogged out on the field at the beginning of the game and everyone was cheering P-T-F-C, it was almost like a World Cup-type style (setting),” said Portland Thorns defender Rachel Buehler after the match. “The fans were incredible. They created an absolutely amazing environment.”
Defender Marian Dougherty opened the scoring for the Thorns in the 45th minute, with forward Alex Morgan adding another in the 51st, while midfielder Jessica Fishlock provided the lone goal for the Reign in the 73rd.
The match started out back and forth, with neither team taking much control of the game. Slowly though, the Thorns began to take more and more possession, bringing the ball into the attacking zone and pushing the Reign defense on their heels, creating several solid scoring chances and keeping much of the ball in the midfield or on the Seattle side of the pitch, including a sure goal by Alex Morgan that was saved off the line by Seattle defender Kate Deines.
After several sustained attacks, the Thorns were finally able to break through as the half was coming to a close. In the 45th minute, midfielder Nikki Washington placed a free kick in the perfect spot for Dougherty, who headed the ball home for the Thorns first goal at JELD-WEN Field.
With very little time left in the half, neither team made any real attacking runs, and the Thorns went into the break with a 1-nil lead.
Coming out of the break, the Thorns didn’t let up on the attack, creating several opportunities gate and before capitalizing in the 51st minute. Off a Seattle turnover, Sinclair dribbled the ball into the 18 yard box and passed to an open Morgan, who calmly placed the ball into the back of the net, giving Morgan her first goal of the season and putting her team up by two.
While Portland continued to sustain their attack, it was Seattle who broke through with the next goal. In the 73rd minute, Fishlock was able to bring the Reign back a goal following a collision between Seattle midfielder Keelin Winters and Thorns defender Rachel Buehler, placing the ball inside the right post.
While the Reign needed another goal to draw level and the Thorns wanting to put the game away with another strike, neither team broke through and the game finished 2-1, putting the Thorns on the top of the NWSL standings, while leaving the Reign in a five-way tie for 4th place with Kansas City, Chicago, Boston, and Western New York.
Reign head coach Laura Harvey was disappointed after the match saying “…we didn’t think we played well today. The goals that we conceded were definitely preventable. I’m not disappointed in the players. They’re just disappointed in their performance. It’s just something that we have to work on.”
Thorns head coach Cindy Parlowe Cone was much more upbeat saying “This was awesome. I was walking around the field with Rachel Buehler and we looked at each other and she’s like, ‘This is like the World Cup!’ That’s what it felt like. It felt like that atmosphere we had at the World Cup and at the Olympics. It was an unbelievable atmosphere…We have got to build on this. Are we excited that we got three points? Of course. It wasn’t a stellar performance, it was a good performance, a solid performance, but our goal is to get better week-in and week-out, so we’ve got to be even better when we go to Chicago.”
Seattle will conclude their three match road trip, traveling next to face FC Kansas City (0-0-1, 1pt) in next Friday’s lone match at Shawnee Mission District Stadium in Overland Park, KS, with a scheduled kick off at 7:35 CDT (5:35 PDT) before their home opener May 4, also against Kansas City.
Portland will next travel to face the Chicago Red Stars (0-0-1, 1pt) on Saturday at City of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex in Lisle, IL, with a scheduled kick off at 7:00 CDT (5:00 PDT), beginning a three match road trip that also takes them to Washington on May 4 before a return trip to Chicago on May 12.
Portland Thorns FC (1-0-1, 4 pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (0-1-1, 1 pts)
April 21, 2013 – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland 1 1 2
Seattle 0 1 1
POR: Dougherty (Washington), 45
POR: Morgan (Sinclair), 52
SEA: Fishlock, 74
POR: Long (Caution), 10
POR: Kerr (Caution), 11
SEA: Reed (Caution), 30
SEA: Nairn (Caution), 33
POR: Washington (Caution), 68
SEA: Fishlock (Caution), 78
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc, D Marian Dougherty, D Kathryn Williamson, D Rachel Buehler, D Nikki Marshall, M Nikki Washington, M Becky Edwards, M Angie Kerr (Danielle Foxhoven, 76), M Allie Long (Courtney Wetzel, 80), F Christine Sinclair (c), F Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant, D Emilee O’Neil, M Meleana Shim, F Jessica Shufelt
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Morgan, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Morgan, 2); FOULS: 11 (Long, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1
SEA: GK Michelle Betos, D Emily Zurrer, D Lauren Barnes (Jenny Ruiz, 84), D Kate Deines, D Ellie Reed, M Kaylyn Kyle, M Teresa Noyola (Kiersten Dallstream, 54), M Jessica Fishlock, M Keelin Winters (c), M Christine Nairn, F Liz Bogus (Kristina Larsen, 66)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Hayley Kopmeyer, M Lyndsey Patterson, M Kristen Meier,
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Fishlock, Nairn, 1); FOULS: 10 (Fishlock, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 3
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees: Felisha Mariscal, Desmond Miller
Fourth Official: Jason Perlewitz
Weather: 51 degrees, overcast
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial