Forwards Danielle Foxhoven and Alex Morgan tallied goals in the second half, but a late comeback attempt fell short as Portland Thorns FC suffered a 3-2 loss against FC Kansas City before a record-setting crowd of 17,619 fans at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday.
Sunday's attendance for the team's regular-season home finale was the largest in the inaugural season of the National Women's Soccer League, topping Portland's previous mark of 16,479 set against Seattle Reign FC in the home opener on April 21 at JELD-WEN Field. The record-setting attendance is larger than any single crowd during the three-year duration of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) from 2009-11 and also ranks among the top single-game marks in women's professional soccer history in the United States.
Against the run of play, FC Kansas City forward Lauren Holiday converted the game's opening goal in the 23rd minute, finishing a cross from midfielder Merritt Mathias in the middle of the penalty box.
After outshooting FC Kansas City 10-3 in a first half that saw several chances for Thorns FC in the opening 15 minutes, Portland tallied the equalizer in the 51st minute when Foxhoven buried a close-range effort in front of goal. A cross was headed toward the top of the box where Portland defender Rachel Buehler corralled the loose ball and delivered a pass into the box that found Foxhoven waiting in front of goal. The forward settled the ball and netted her fourth goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 six minutes into the second half.
FC Kansas City responded with back-to-back goals, as Holiday recorded her second goal of the game in the 54th minute on a shot from just inside the box that Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc got a hand on, but couldn't keep it from slowly rolling over the line. Holiday leads the NWSL with 12 goals this season. Defender Kristie Mewis tallied her first professional goal in the 73rd minute with a shot from the top of the box that LeBlanc nearly saved. The goalkeeper got two hands on the hard-struck shot, but could only parry the ball onto the inside of the far right post before it bounced into the net.
Morgan, who registered a team-high six shots (3 on goal), pulled one back for Thorns FC in the 89th minute, converting a left-footed strike from the edge of the box following an assist from midfielder Allie Long. The goal was Morgan's team-leading eighth of the season. The forward tied a Thorns club record on Sunday by recording a point (goal or assist) in her fourth consecutive match.
Thorns FC (10-5-4, 34pts) finished the match holding a 17-10 advantage in shots, including an 8-5 edge in shots on goal. FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made five saves, including a diving stop on forward Christine Sinclair in the 36th minute and a finger-tip parry over the crossbar on a long-range effort by midfielder Tobin Heath in the 69th minute.
Thorns FC remain the league's second-place team in the standings with the chance to clinch a berth to the NWSL Playoffs in their next match. Tied on points (34) with Sky Blue FC and with a 1-1-1 overall season series record against the New Jersey-based club, Thorns FC hold the tiebreaker on overall goal differential for second place in the league.
Portland is able to clinch a spot in the playoffs on Wednesday with a win against the Boston Breakers. It is also possible for Thorns FC to clinch a berth with a draw combined with a Chicago loss against the Washington Spirit on Wednesday.
Portland closes out the regular season on a three-game road trip that begins Wednesday, Aug. 7, against the Boston Breakers at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass.; kickoff is 1 p.m. (Pacific). Following Wednesday's match at Boston, Thorns FC face the Western New York Flash on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.; kickoff is 1:35 p.m. (Pacific).
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