The National Women’s Soccer League action resumed on Wednesday night with a Fall Series matchup between two long-time rivals. Portland Thorns FC hosted OL Reign and the two clubs went head to head for the first time during this competition. The Thorns defeated the Reign, 4-1, in the evening affair to capture their second win this Fall Series. Here’s what to know from the match in Portland.
Portland Thorns 4, OL Reign 1
⚽ 40′ Christine Sinclair, Thorns
⚽ 45+5′ Christine Sinclair, Thorns
⚽ 57′ Raquel Rodriguez, Thorns
⚽ 70′ Bethany Balcer, OL Reign
⚽ 74′ Christine Sinclair, Thorns
Lindsay Horan makes the back line scramble
Thorns opened up the scoring sheet thanks to this brilliant playmaking from Horan. The midfielder stretched the back line and diced through two defenders before seeing the space to play a ball through to an unmarked Sinclair.
Raquel Rodriguez smashes sweet volley
After going up two goals in the second half thanks to a Sinclair penalty kick, Portland continued to press. Forward Simone Charley served a cross into the box to a waiting Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez, who smashed a brilliantly-timed volley.
Christine Sinclair shakes off defenders for a hat-trick
Already up 3-1, the Thorns continued to build their offensive chances in front of goal. Sinclair was able to dribble past several OL Reign defenders on this goal to break through on goal for her hat-trick.
Let’s rate some of the notable performances on the day, with one being the worst and 10 being perfection:
Christine Sinclair, Thorns: The 37-year-old Canadian international was able to connect on goal for her team after Portland had to navigate a a fairly organized Reign squad in the opening minutes. Two goals before halftime, and a third during the 72nd minute to give the Thorns legend her third NWSL hat-trick. RATING: 10
Raquel Rodriguez, Thorns: The midfielder appeared to be everywhere. From the Challenge Cup through the Fall Series, Rodriguez has impressed with her play in the midfield and on the ball for the Thorns despite not getting on the score sheet. That changed in this game with a goal in the 57th minute from the Costa Rican international. RATING: 8
Shirley Cruz, OL Reign: The quick turnaround on travel definitely didn’t help OL Reign in their quest for a positive result. Cruz’s efforts during the game eventually led to a goal for the Reign as her service into the box found a waiting Bethany Balcer in the 70th minute. RATING: 7
A final thought
This match was a rescheduled affair between the two teams after poor air quality conditions due to wildfires impacted the original scheduled date. Both clubs have a rivalry that goes back to the inaugural season, but has felt significantly different this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic restricting fans in stadiums.
Playing their second and final home game, Portland’s most faithful found a way to contribute to the big rivalry match with gameday red smoke for every goal scored. Safe to say they got their money’s worth. Kudos to the supporters group, Rose City Riveters, who even in an unpredictable year still expressed support by waiting an additional week to show extra backing for their team with the in game smoke.