Lauren Cheney scored in her third straight match and Merritt Mathias added a second half tally as FC Kansas City defeated the Portland Thorns on Sunday in front of 4,774 fans at Verizon Wireless Field.
Cheney got the Blues on the board in the 10th minute after taking a pass from Leigh Ann Robinson in midfield. Cheney took off down the field, dribbling 25 yards before she launched a right-footed shot that went upper 90 past Karina LeBlanc to give the Blues an early lead.
The lead would double for the home side in the 71st minute. Leigh Ann Robinson put a pass in the box that was deflected by Thorns midfielder Angie Kerr. The ball fell to Mathias and she looped a ball over an onrushing LeBlanc for the 2-0 lead.
Portland would press to get one back in the final 15 minutes of the match. Christine Sinclair flicked a header at the near post just five minutes after Mathias’ tally but her header was stopped by Nicole Barnhart.
Sinclair had another opportunity two minutes later as she saw her off-balance shot attempt pushed aside by Barnhart in the 78th minute. The rebound was cleared out of danger by the Blues’ backline.
Super-sub Danielle Foxhoven almost got the Thorns on the board in the 88th minute but her long distance shot was just over the crossbar.
The Thorns did play the final ten minutes of the match with ten players after Marian Dougherty was forced to leave the match with a knee injury after Portland had used all three substitutes.
- Lauren Cheney: She has been on fire of late, scoring a league-leading eight goals on the year, including four goals in her last three matches. If we’re including national team matches, that’s six goals in five matches. Simply put, Cheney is winning the MVP award at this point in the season. The other seven clubs need a game plan on how they’re going to try to stop the US international. Giving her too much time and space is going to result in balls in the back of your net.
- Thorns attack: It’s a potent attack with Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair and the new addition of Tiffany Weimer but they’ve been held scoreless the last two times out of the gate. Unsure if this is something that should concern anyone right now, but the Thorns do not look as dominating as they did earlier in the season.
- Season series: The season series between these two clubs will be decided in the fourth and final matchup on August 4 – on Fox Soccer Channel. The series is currently split at 1-1-1. If FC Kansas City is in a battle with Portland for a place in the top four, the series would be a deciding factor should the two clubs end up tied on points.
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 0 0 0
KC 1 1 2
KC: Cheney (Robinson), 10
KC: Mathias (Robinson), 71
Lineups & Stats:
PORTLAND: Karina LeBlanc; Marian Dougherty, Kathryn Williamson, Rachel Buehler, Allie Long, Christine Sinclair (capt.), Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Adelaide Gay, Emilee O’Neil
FCKC: Nicole Barnhart; Kristie Mewis, Lauren Sesselmann, Becky Sauerbrunn, Leigh Ann Robinson, Erika Tymrak, Jen Buczkowski, Desiree Scott, Lauren Cheney, Courtney Jones (Mathias, 46), Melissa Henderson (Cuellar, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Nia Williams, Sinead Farrelly, Katie Kelly, Tiffany Cameron