Portland Thorns outmuscle Orlando Pride in crucial play off game

Filed under: Florida News,Orlando City Soccer,Orlando Pride,Sport |

Orlando Pride lost 2-0 to Portland Thorns FC on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium in a crucial match that may decide the fate of both teams coming up to the end of the NWSL season.

With three regular-season games remaining, Orlando holds the fourth and final NWSL playoff spot, two points behind third-place Portland and one above fifth-place Chicago.

Sermanni rolled out a starting XI with captain Ashlyn Harris in goal and Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy and Toni Pressley in defence. Shelina Zadorsky, Dani Weatherholt and Emily van Egmond started in the midfield with Chioma Ubogagu and Kristen Edmonds as wingbacks and Marta and Alex Morgan started up top.

The Pride started the game on top as they pressured the Thorns goal but couldn’t find a way through. The home side won five corners in the first five minutes of the match but couldn’t break through and slowly but surely the visitors started to control the tempo. The failure to score in that first half period proved crucial as Portland broke through two minutes into the second half as Lindsey Horan scored an historic goal to tie the Thorn’s single-season record for goals. The goal came as Tobin Heath lofted a ball into the box that found the excellent Horan on the move for an easy one touch finish to make it 1-0.

Portland doubled their lead  just six minutes later in the 53rd minute when Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic headed a ball ahead to Haley Raso. Raso, chested the ball down to her feet, split two defenders with her first touch, and fired home at the far post to put the Thorns up 2-0.

“We started out terrific first 15, 20 minutes, probably searching into the first 30 minutes. I thought we dictated the game, the tempo was good, our attacking was good, movement was good. But then we don’t score. You dominate and dominate in games and you don’t score,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “And then second half it looked like we put a different team out on the park. Same bodies, but a different team out on the field in the second half and the game was over within seven minutes.”

The victory was an important one for Portland who have improved their playoff prospects with the win and leapfrogged Orlando for third place in the latest National Women’s Soccer League standings.

Orlando visits the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on NWSLsoccer.com. The Pride will play their regular-season home finale against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Lineups:

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy, Toni Pressley (Carson Pickett 80’); Shelina Zadorsky, Kristen Edmonds (Rachel Hill 68’), Dani Weatherholt, Emily van Egmond, Chioma Ubogagu (Camila 59’); Alex Morgan, Marta

Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Monica; Christine Nairn; Danica Evans

Portland Thorns FC: Adrianna Franch; Ellie Carpenter (Midge Purce 76’), Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Meghan Klingenberg; Lindsey Horan, Celeste Bourielle, Christine Sinclair ©; Hayley Raso (Andressinha 87’), Ana Crnogorcevic (Caitlin Foord 55’), Tobin Heath

Substitutes Not Used: Britt Eckerstrom; Elizabeth Ball; Mallory Weber, Tyler Lussi

Attendance: 6,012

More photos at: www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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