Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sicklier scored the first hat-trick in club history and the fourth in National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) history, as Portland tallied four unanswered goals in a 6-3 victory against the Boston Breakers in front of 14,383 fans at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
Boston (3-13-2, 11pts) opened the scoring in the 14th minute as midfielder Katie Schaefer collected a loose ball off a deflected cross and converted from close range to put the Breakers ahead 1-0.
Portland (8-6-5, 29pts) found the equalizer when forward Alex Morgan got in behind the Boston defense and was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty kick in the 31st minute. Midfielder Allie Long stepped up to the spot and tucked her shot into the bottom left corner for her ninth goal of the season.
Against the run of play, the Breakers took back the lead in the 33rd minute. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer came out near the edge of the box in an attempt to clear midfielder Nikki Washington's shot, but the ball skimmed over her leg and rolled into the goal to put the Breakers back in front, 2-1.
Thorns FC equalized for a second time in the match just three minutes later. Midfielder Verónica Boquete was able to create space in the box with a quick fake before pulling the ball back behind her and laying it off to forward Christine Sinclair for the finish inside the box.
Boston would take the lead for a third time in the first half, earning a penalty kick in the 39th minute after Portland was called for a handball in the box. Midfielder Heather O'Reilly placed her shot low and inside the right post just past Angerer's outstretched arms.
Portland rallied once again to even the score just before halftime. Long caused a turnover and dribbled up the right flank to find Morgan open in the middle of the box. Morgan quickly turned and made a short pass to Sinclair running into the box for her second goal of the match.
Thorns FC scored four unanswered goals, including three in the second half to seal the win. Sinclair opened the scoring less than a minute into the second half to complete her hat-trick. Morgan kept possession of the ball among a group of defenders in the box and played a well-timed pass to Sinclair for the finish.
In the 52nd minute, defender Steph Catley made a run down the left flank, sending a ball to Morgan in the center of the field. Morgan beat two defenders, dribbling into the box and hitting a low, hard shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Forward Jessica McDonald added the final goal of the match in the 88th minute. McDonald's goal puts her in a tie for the league lead (11). Midfielder Angie Kerr played a long pass down the right flank for McDonald who dribbled to the end line, cutting it back and touching it through the defender's legs before finishing inside the far post.
Portland scored six or more goals for a second consecutive home match and has outscored its opponents 13-4, including a 7-1 victory on July 13 against FC Kansas City. Thorns FC have scored six or more goals in a match three times this season, also earning a 6-1 victory on the road against the Washington Spirit on June 21.
Thorns FC face a quick turnaround, traveling to play at the Washington Spirit on Wednesday, July 23, at Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.; kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (Pacific).