Allie Long and Jessica McDonald continued their impressive scoring streaks as the two led Portland to its first regular-season win against the Western New York Flash.
Each of the previous meetings in the regular season have ended in draws, with the only win in the series coming in last season’s championship matchup.
The Thorns got what proved to be the game winner in the 50 th minute after Amber Brooks floated a free kick into the box that Wys came out for but was unable to hold onto the ball. It ricocheted around the six-yard-box before going off McDonald and in the back of the net. It was the team-leading fifth goal of the season for McDonald.
Long opened up the scoring the 17th minute after the Thorns pressed for an early strike from the opening whistle. Midfielder Angie Kerr slotted a pass onto Long’s right foot after the recently-capped midfielder got inside of former Thorn Kat Williamson. Long slid her shot past Wys for her fourth goal of the season.
The Flash pulled back to within one just before the hour mark. Carli Lloyd, who played in her fourth match of the season after serving a two-match suspension, slipped a pass in for a wide-open McCall Zerboni on the left side of the box. Zerboni rifled her shot far post past Thorns keeper Nadine Angerer in the 59th minute.
The Flash had a pair of chances within minutes of each other in the final 20 minutes of the match. In the 73rd minute, Lloyd hit her shot from the left side of the box that was pushed aside by Angerer into the path of Abby Wambach. The ball rolled past Wambach and out of danger before the last year’s FIFA Player of the Year could get a foot on it.
Minutes later, Wambach managed to get free and fired a shot from the top of the box that forced Angerer into a diving stop to keep her club ahead in the 76th minute.
Christine Sinclair almost put the Thorns on the board in the fourth minute after being played in by Courtney Niemic. Wys slid out to make the stop and the ball was cleared out by the Western New York defense before the Thorns could get another crack on target.
Vicky Losada almost found the equalizer for the Flash in the 39 th minute after getting in alone on the left side of the box following a short corner kick. Angerer made the point-blank save to preserve the 1-0 advantage headed into halftime.
The match was a physical one with five yellow cards issued and 27 combined fouls.
POR – Long (4) – 17′
POR – McDonald (5) – 50′
WNY – Zerboni (1) – 59′
POR: Nadine Angerer, Courtney Niemiec, Nikki Marshall, Emily Menges, Kat Tarr, Sinead Farrelly (Rebecca Moros, 74), Amber Brooks, Allie Long, Angie Kerr (Sarah Huffman, 79), Christine Sinclair, Jessica McDonald (Meleana Shim, 90)
WNY: Kelsey Wys, Katherine Reynolds, Kat Williamson, Haley Palmer (Kristen Edmonds, 46), Brittany Taylor, Carli Lloyd, Vicky Losada, Amy Barczuk (Jasmyne Spencer, 83), McCall Zerboni, Abby Wambach , Sonia Bermudez (Adriana Martín, 60)
WNY: Bermudez (Caution), 14
WNY: Reynolds (Caution), 73
POR: Tarr (Caution), 75
WNY: Wambach (Caution), 81
WNY: Taylor (Caution), 90