Nadine Angerer made a season-high seven saves, including a key stop on a
second-half penalty kick, and forward Jessica McDonald netted the game-winning
goal for Portland Thorns FC in a 1-0 victory over National Women's Soccer
League expansion side Houston Dash in front of 3,931 fans at BBVA Compass
Stadium on Wednesday night.
Thorns FC (3-1-2, 11pts) earned their second clean sheet of the season as Angerer came up with a crucial diving save on a 48th-minute penalty kick by Houston midfielder Kaylyn Kyle. Following a long cross into the penalty box, Portland was whistled for a handball, setting up the spot kick for the Dash (1-5-0, 3pts). Leaping to her right, Angerer smothered the effort and quickly recovered into a position to help guide the rebound out for a goal kick as Thorns FC extended their club-record, road-unbeaten streak to eight consecutive matches in all competitions dating back to the 2013 season.
Registering her team-leading fourth goal of the season, McDonald delivered the game-winning goal from close range in the 57th minute, connecting on a well-placed cross from midfielder Angie Kerr. The goal was McDonald's fourth in the last four matches and set a new NWSL-career high for the forward.
McDonald finished with a game-high six shots, including three on goal, while strike partner Christine Sinclair delivered four shots, including a near miss in the 12th minute from 12-yards out that she pulled just wide of the far left post following a pass from McDonald near the end line.
Portland, which finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots on Wednesday, has attempted six or more shots on goal in four straight games while also earning a second consecutive shutout against the Dash this season. Thorns FC squared off against Houston on April 12 in the season-opening match at BBVA Compass Stadium, coming away with a 1-0 win.
Taking command of the penalty box, Angerer saved a close-range header from Houston midfielder Jordan Jackson in the 16th minute, while also coming up with critical stops in the 42nd minute on another effort by Jackson and in the 77th minute as second-half substitute forward Kealia Ohai found space to turn and shoot in front of goal. By recording the shutout, Portland extended Houston's scoreless streak to four straight games (365 consecutive minutes).
Thorns FC, playing in their fourth road game in six matches, nearly found additional goals late in the second half as Sinclair saw an effort from the right side of the penalty box saved and McDonald couldn't convert either of two one-on-one opportunities against Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod. The Canadian international finished with six saves.
Portland returns to the Rose City for consecutive home matches, beginning Wednesday, May 21, against the Western New York Flash at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Thorns FC then play host to Sky Blue FC on Saturday, May 24; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Both matches at Providence Park will be broadcast via live, high-definition webstream at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
Release from Portland Thorns.