Jessica McDonald recorded a brace, midfielder Allie Long scored a goal in a
third consecutive match and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made six saves as
Portland Thorns FC earned a 3-1 win against FC Kansas City in Portland's
regular-season home opener before 14,124 fans at Providence Park on Saturday
McDonald's two-goal performance, the second of her National Women's Soccer League career, came in the final six minutes of the match as Portland pushed numbers forward looking for the go-ahead goal. Tied at 1-1 in the 84th minute, McDonald slotted a shot past FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart from close range following a nice passing sequence between Long and substitute midfielder/defender Sarah Huffman.
Second-half substitute midfielder Meleana Shim factored in on the next goal just four minutes later when she played a long pass down the left channel into space for McDonald. The forward was then able to run onto the ball and lob a shot over the oncoming goalkeeper with the outside of her right foot for her second goal of the match. McDonald, who became just the second Thorns FC player all-time to register a brace, finished with a game-high four shots on goal. In addition, McDonald becomes just the second player to tally four points in a single match for Portland.
Playing its first home match since Aug. 4, 2013 – a span of 265 days – Portland came out attacking from the opening whistle, pressing the FC Kansas City defense, and was unlucky not to score a goal as Long and forward Christine Sinclair each missed chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Shortly before halftime, Long staked Thorns FC to the lead as she outmaneuvered a defender down the right flank and into the penalty box where she was cut down by defender Becky Sauerbrunn and awarded a penalty kick in the 44th minute. The goal, Long's third tally in three consecutive matches, saw the midfielder tie her NWSL career high in goals set during the inaugural season in 2013.
Delivering seven shots on goals during the match, FC Kansas City notched the equalizer on a penalty kick in the 56th minute as midfielder Erika Tymrak was tripped up on the left edge of the penalty box early in the second half. Forward Lauren Holiday, the 2013 NWSL Most Valuable Player, stepped up to take the spot kick and fired a strong shot past Angerer to the goalkeeper's right side, knotting the score, 1-1.
Just minutes prior to McDonald's go-ahead tally for Thorns FC, Angerer made a leaping save to guide a shot from FC Kansas City midfielder Jenna Richmond safely over the crossbar. The save, one of a season-high six on the night for the German international, helped keep the match level and ignited a late push from Thorns FC. Angerer made diving stops on forward Amy Rodriguez and midfielder Jen Buczkowski in the first half as both teams earned good scoring opportunities as the match started to open up.
FC Kansas City's Barnhart made six saves and the two teams finished level on shots, 16-16, while Portland earned the advantage in shots on goal, 10-7. Portland's 10 shots on goal tied for the second-most in a regular-season match by the club all-time.
Thorns FC take to the road for their next match, squaring off against the Western New York Flash in a rematch of the 2013 NWSL Championship Game on Saturday, May 3, at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. The match is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. (Pacific) and will be available via a live webstream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
Release from Portland Thorns.