Portland Thorns Back on Track

By: Casey Dobson
Posted: June 7, 2021

They opened the season with an absolute rout of the Red Stars and nobody batted an eye; it looked like it would be another spell of easy games for the Thorns. But, what followed were two losses that left fans and critics confused. Both were 2-1 results, one against the Reign and one against the Pride. Sure, neither of those teams are without their own stars, but looking at the Portland roster, one would assume that their fire power could keep up. The skid is now over. 

The Thorns stopped the bleeding last week with a 1-0 win over Gotham FC thanks to a Crystal Dunn marker. While the win was needed, the slim margin of victory hardly helped fans to feel confident in their squad again. 

Portland were quick to oblige with a 3-0 win over expansion Racing Louisville FC on Sunday night. In all fairness to the expansion side, they were dealt just about every travel speed bump in the book and still gave no excuses. 

The flood gates opened in the eighth minute when Angela Salem found the back of the net for the first time in five years. For what was just her second NWSL tally ever, Salem blasted a shot from just beyond the arc. The ball had become loose after consistent pressure from Portland, led by rookie Simone Charley. 

Despite Portland’s dominant play in the midfield, Salem’s goal was the only one of the half. Their control of the flow of play was rewarded just three minutes after halftime when Lindsey Horan found Rocky Rodriguez on a cross into the box. The Costa Rican star made no mistake with her finish, using her left foot to tuck the ball past Louisville keeper Michelle Betos. 

Horan then put the exclamation point on the win herself in the 77th minute when what was intended to be a cross to Charley found its way past Betos without Charley getting a touch to it. Horan had lofted a ball in for the young striker, who ever so slightly mistimed her run and wasn’t able to head the ball. Her mistake ended up freezing Betos, who, expecting the header, wasn’t able to get down in time to stop Horan’s bouncing service. 

As with the rest of the league, Thorns will have a break before they take to the field again in two weeks, against Kansas City on Sunday, June 20.

For more NWSL coverage from Venus Sports, click here.

For more soccer thoughts and opinions, check out Casey’s author page or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Portland Thorns FC Twitter

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