Portland, OR – The Portland Thorns’ 100th match in club history took place Saturday against the number one team in the league, the NC Courage. Playing at Providence Park in front of 16,800 fans, the Thorns put on an impressive display of defense that allowed them to shut down the number one offense in the league.
The only goal of the night would come from a header in the 70th minute from Thorns’ forward Hayley Raso off a perfectly placed cross by defender Meghan Klingenberg. Raso was able to place the ball just out of the Courage Keeper’s reach.
While the NC Courage are known for their last minute wins, they could not overcome, leaving Portland to collect all three points, jumping them from 5th to 4th place in the standings. Just one point behind New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC.
With this performance the Thorns look to get back on track with two more home games to come. “I think we have the belief again.” Klingenberg commented after the game, “We’re all pulling in the same direction. Sometimes when things start going bad, everyone tries really, really hard, but maybe everybody is pulling in different directions and not necessarily going the same way. Now I think we’re all pulling in the same direction and I think that’s a little scary for other teams.”
Coach Mark Parsons added that while this feels like the same position they were in last year, with big name players out, he was proud of how his team had come together. “There is no better feeling as a coach when a group steps up and players that may not have as many minutes as others, put in big time performances. I’m really proud of the work the group did, it was a collective, hardworking, pressing every single second of the game performance and when you do that, and you’re on the front foot, good things happen. I’m proud that [Hayley] Raso got that, she’s put in some good miles over the last few weeks and it’s nice to see her earn one like that.”
Next, the Thorns will face the Washington Spirit Saturday, with kickoff starting at 7pm at Providence Park.
*Photo Credit: Diego G. Diaz