Portland Thorns FC attempted a club record 15 shots on goal and forward Christine Sinclair became the third player in National Women's Soccer League history to register 10 or more shots in a match, but Thorns FC could not overcome a two-goal halftime deficit in a 2-0 loss against the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium on Sunday night.
Thorns FC (9-8-6, 33pts) remain in fourth place in the NWSL standings with just one game remaining on the regular-season schedule. Still in the race for the final two postseason berths – the Washington Spirit, Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash and Sky Blue FC all mathematically remain able to claim a spot in the playoffs as the regular season nears its conclusion.
After conceding two early goals, Portland peppered Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher with 13 shots, including 10 on goal, in the second half and finished with a 20-8 advantage overall in the match. Sinclair set a Thorns FC single-game record for shots (11), becoming just the third player in NWSL history to tally 10 or more shots in a match. Sinclair's seven shots on goal set both a single-game record for the club and a NWSL record, breaking the previous record set by forward Alex Morgan and FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney (6).
Naeher kept Portland off the board with 10 saves in the match, while Morgan, who finished the match with five shots (5 on goal), and midfielder Amber Brooks each saw efforts cleared off the goal line in the second half.
Portland pushed for a goal in the opening 20 minutes of the second half as Sinclair turned outside the box and split a pair of defenders before bending a shot towards the left post, but Naeher dove to her right to parry the ball out for a corner kick in the 50th minute. In the 63rd minute, midfielder Vero Boquete created space near the edge of the box, threading a ball into midfielder Allie Long. Long fired a shot from inside the goal box, but Naeher dove to make the save.
In the 14th minute, goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made the initial save on defender Cat Whitehill's shot off a corner kick, but defender Rachel Wood collected the loose ball and converted the rebound from inside the box to put Boston in front, 1-0. The Breakers doubled their lead in the 28th minute, as midfielder Lianne Sanderson quickly switched the point of attack to find midfielder Heather O'Reilly breaking down the right flank. O'Reilly drove towards the box and delivered a shot inside the upper left corner.
Thorns FC return to the Rose City for their regular-season finale against Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, Aug. 17, at Providence Park. Sunday's match, sponsored by Alaska Airlines, will be broadcast live locally on Comcast SportsNet Northwest with a live webstream on ESPN3.com; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Pacific).
Release from Portland Thorns