After losing two consecutive games, including one at Providence Park and one on the road, the Portland Thorns FC were determined not to allow their first string of three consecutive losses since 2015, and they certainly did not disappoint the 16,199 fans at Providence Park who came to watch them take on FC Kansas City.
Thorns' Early Lead
It didn't take long for the Thorns to show they were serious about not allowing Kansas City take any advantage. In the 11th minute, Meleana Shim sent a dangerous kick towards the Blues' goal, but it sailed high. Four minutes later, Allie Long almost had the first goal of the game, but it was tipped by goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, hitting the lower right goal post instead, which rebounded right to Christine Sinclair who was able to put it in for a 1-0 Portland lead.
Defensively, on the other end, in the 26th minute, Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch saved a Brittany Taylor header after Yael Averbuch sent the ball into the back post. It would be FC Kansas City's first major opportunity to equalize.
In the 32nd minute, Portland would extend its lead as Hayley Raso sent the ball from a wide angle from outside the box to the KC far post. It looked more like a pass than a shot, but it would be enough to find the net, and it caught Barnhart off guard. The successful attempt would be Raso's first career NWSL goal. At halftime, the Thorns led 2-0.
Portland Dominance Solidified
The Thorns returned for the second half with the same amount of determination they showed in the first 45 minutes. In the 46th minute, midfielder Amandine Henry aimed to make it 3-0, but her shot went over the bar. Too much determination, however, and perhaps some Kansas City frustration beginning to set resulted in a yellow card for Portland's Lindsey Horan in the 52nd minute and another one for FCKC's Alexa Newfield.
Those two yellow cards would not be the only ones of the game in such a competitive atmosphere. Long, Raso, Sinclair, Brittany Ratcliffe, and Maegan Kelly would all earn yellow cards for rough fouls and poor on-field behavior. Sinclair was not thrilled with the referee when a goal was disallowed after a handball in the 72nd minute.
Even though the Blues' were down by two, they were resilient to score a goal and gain momentum. Forward Sydney Leroux had three shots on goal, and midfielder Lo'eau Labonta took a shot that went high in the 60th minute during a corner kick.
But every hope that FC Kansas City had to turn the game in their favor ended when Sinclair buried a goal after taking a shot from outside the box in the 75th minute. The FC Kansas City defense failed to pressure Raso on the initial pass to Sinclair and gave the Canadian international enough room to make the attempt. It would be her second of the game and fourth overall for the season.
It was enough to give Portland the win at home and their first solid win over Kansas City since 2015.
With the win, the Thorns moved to third place in the NWSL standings after Sky Blue FC lost to Orlando. Portland makes a short road trip on Saturday to Seattle for the Cascadia Rivalry. FC Kansas City drops to the seventh spot as they return home from their west coast trip to host the Houston Dash on Sunday, July 2nd.