Forward Alex Morgan tallied the game-winning goal in the 68th minute, while goalkeeper Nadine Angerer recorded a clean sheet to help lead Portland Thorns FC to a 1-0 win against Seattle Reign FC and a berth in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) playoffs in front of 17,109 fans on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park.
The win secures Thorns FC (10-8-6, 36pts) the third seed in the NWSL playoffs for a second consecutive season. Portland will travel to take on the second-seed FC Kansas City on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The win, which was Portland's fifth against Reign FC in seven all-time meetings since 2013, helped Thorns FC vault over Washington and Chicago in the postseason race.
After a scoreless first half, Portland broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when Morgan connected with midfielder Allie Long's corner kick, heading it off Seattle defender Elli Reed and inside the left post from close range. The goal was Morgan's sixth of the season and her first since July 23.
Angerer earned her fourth clean sheet of the season, making five saves in the match. The German international made a critical stop in the 43rd minute, denying forward Naho Kawasumi's volley from close range as she jumped to tip the ball over the crossbar. Angerer also made saves on free kicks by Megan Rapinoe in the 34th and 56th minutes of the match.
Portland recorded its fifth shutout of the season and its third at Providence Park, while finishing the regular season unbeaten in its last five home matches (4-0-1), improving its record to 7-4-1 at home in 2014.
Thorns FC will take on FC Kansas City in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs for a second straight season. On the road last season, Portland earned a thrilling 3-2 win in overtime on Aug. 24, 2013, to advance to the NWSL Championship game as Long scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute. In three meetings this season against FC Kansas City, Portland earned a 2-1-0 record.
Thorns FC and FC Kansas City face off on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium. Saturday's nationally televised match on ESPN2 kicks off at 10 a.m. (Pacific). The winner advances to the NWSL Championship game on Sunday, Aug. 31.
Release from Portland Thorns.