Portland Thorns Push Past Utah Royals FC for Massive Three Points

Portland Thorns Push Past Utah Royals

PORTLAND, OREGON (May 25, 2018) — And just like that, the Portland Thorns have taken over second place in the NWSL.

Three points against the Utah Royals FC on Friday night helped Portland jump up from fifth place to second in one day. While it will take them countless matches to reach first-place North Carolina Courage, the Thorns established dominance with their 2-0 victory.

At Providence Park, in front of 15,113 fans, Christine Sinclair scored her sixth goal of the season. Currently, Sinclair leads the league in goals scored.

Portland Thorns Push Past Utah Royals FC to Move to Second in NWSL

Sinclair’s goal, assisted by Tobin Heath, came in the 18th minute. The ball rolled off Sinclair’s left foot, inside the box, and past Royals FC goalkeeper Abby Smith.

In the first half, Lindsey Horan tacked on the final point.

Off a Meghan Klingenberg assist, Horan was right inside of the box, close to Smith. Klingenberg’s assist found Horan through a sea of defenders in the 39th minute.

The victory wasn’t just sweet for Portland, but for Thorns Head Coach Mark Parsons. The English-born head coach for Portland recorded his 50th NWSL victory.

After the match, Parsons said that earning the victory is the “best indicator I’ve worked with some really special coaches and players.”

“Whenever I think about my times with different teams and the two-and-a-half years [in Portland] – the staff and players I get to spend my days with, week-in, week-out – I’m privileged,” Parsons said. “I’m really, really privileged.”

Parsons previously coached for the Washington Spirit.

Three Takeaways

  1. Portland gives Salem some time: After missing some time this season while studying for her Master’s degree, Angela Salem got significant minutes against Utah. Salem entered the match in the 58th minute for Brazilian midfielder Andressinha. Arguably the best player for the Boston Breakers last season, Parsons now has Salem to his full disposal. In future matches, Salem should garner more minutes.
  2. Busy goalkeepers: With Adrianna Franch still recovering from injury, Britt Eckerstorm was between the sticks for Portland. Earning another clean sheet, Eckerstorm made two saves against Brooke Elby and Katrina Gorry. On the other side, Abby Smith made three saves against Horan, Tobin Heath and Sinclair.
  3. A difference in crowds: Rio Tinto Stadium, where the Utah Royals feature, can seat up to 20,213 fans. Meanwhile, Providence Park can hold up to 21,144 fans. That’s only 931 fans more that Providence Park can fill. Why all the numbers? For the last few matches at home, the Royals have only posted numbers around the 8,000s. Meanwhile, Portland never has a hard time reaching more than 12,000 fans at their matches. Utah should take Portland’s lead.

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