National Women's Soccer League / Portland Thorns FC / Sky Blue FC

Taylor Lytle Leads Sky Blue FC Past Portland Thorns

Taylor Lytle made an immediate impact for Sky Blue FC, notching the only goal of the game in the 80th minute as Sky Blue handed the Portland Thorns their first loss of the season on Thursday night.  Lytle cracked a shot from 30 yards out that looped over Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and into the upper left corner to give the visiting side the lead.

Despite an onslaught of attack from the home side, the Sky Blue FC defense was able to preserve the 1-0 advantage.  The goal was the first time the Thorns had trailed since early on in the season opener against FC Kansas City.

Portland forward Christine Sinclair had an early opportunity to get the Thorns the lead, but slipped her right-footed shot just past the post in the 2nd minute.  The first half saw very little attacking for either side afterwards until the waning stages of the first half when Sky Blue FC midfielder Katy Freels had a shot blocked and the ball pinged around the box before the Portland defense was able to clear.

Portland spent much of the first half sending Alex Morgan into a foot race with either the Sky Blue back line or sending her one-on-one against goalkeeper Brittany Cameron.

The second half saw the match open up as both teams were able to get into the attacking third and create opportunities.  Danielle Foxhoven put a cross on Morgan’s head but her header was straight at Cameron in the 69th minute.

Both Sinclair and Morgan had chances to pull the Thorns even late in the match – Morgan with a header on the final attempt of the match and Sinclair with a shot that Cameron bobbled but managed to keep out.

Sky Blue FC will stay on the West Coast when they take on the Seattle Reign at 9pm ET on May 19.  Portland will host the Washington Spirit, also on May 19, at 5pm ET.

Talking Points:

  • Sky Blue FC backline:  Led by Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara, the Sky Blue FC backline managed to smother both Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair throughout the match.  Rampone matched Morgan step for step all night and set herself up to be defending her national team teammate for the match.
  • Kelley O’Hara:  O’Hara was slated to start on the front line, but a last minute change saw her switch with Kendall Johnson for the match.  O’Hara has sparked the attack in the matches she’s played up top after starting the first two matches on the backline.
  • Attendance Watch:  After a monstrous 16,479 at their home opener on April 21, Thursday’s match saw an attendance number of 11,055 (on a school night!).  The Thorns will undoubtedly be the league leaders in attendance this season.
  • Undefeated:  Portland’s loss leaves the Boston Breakers as the only remaining undefeated side in the NWSL after FC Kansas City fell to the Western New York Flash last weekend.
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