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Late McDonald brace propels Thorns over Blues

Jessica McDonald scored twice in the final 7 minutes to lift the NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC to a 3-1 victor over FC Kansas City in front of 14,124 at Providence Park. The clubs traded mid-game penalties and were deadlocked headed to the late minutes when McDonald shook off some finishing woes to become the first player to score a brace for two different NWSL clubs (she did it for the Reign in 2013.)

The game-winner was scored in the 84th minute off a sequence that saw Christine Sinclair walk into the box and play it in close quarters to Allie Long. As the defense descended on Long and then called for an offsides flag on McDonald, Long laid it off where McDonald finished far post.

Four minutes later Meleana Shim played McDonald through with a sublime ball that left Becky Sauerbrunn on the ground and McDonald in on Nicole Barnhart who she chipped to put the match away.

The Thorns took the lead late in the 1st half when Long earned and converted a penalty kick. Long has scored in all three Thorns matches and has every Thorns goal to that point.

FC Kansas City struck back in the 57th minute, also from the spot. Nikki Marshall took down Erika Tymrak and Lauren Holiday smoothly beat Nadine Angerer for her 1st of the season and a 1-1 match. The Blues looked the more dangerous side from then until the Thorns goal and had numerous chances thwarted by the aggressive play of Angerer. They made a lineup change Saturday, taking Liz Bogus out and inserting rookie Jenna Richmond. That allowed a return to a shape similar to last year’s. The midfield looked more comfortable but they were not able to create a goal from the run of play.

The Thorns (2-0-1, 7 points) are headed back East where they will help open Sahlen’s Stadium next Saturday in a rematch of last year’s championship match against the Flash. The Blues (0-2-1, 1 point) are now facing unprecedented adversity and will look to rebound Wednesday night at home to Chicago.

Box Score

April 26, 2014 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half 1 2 F
FC Kansas City 0 1 1
Portland Thorns FC 1 2 3

Scoring Summary
POR: Long (penalty kick), 44
KC: Holiday (penalty kick), 56
POR: McDonald (Long), 84
POR: McDonald (Shim), 88

Misconduct Summary
KC: Mathias (Caution), 63

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Nadine Angerer, D Courtney Niemiec, D Nikki Marshall, D Emily Menges, D Rebecca Moros (Sarah Huffman, 80), M Sinead Farrelly, M Amber Brooks (Kat Tarr, 83), M Angie Kerr (Mana Shim, 71), M Allie Long, F Christine Sinclair ©, F Jessica McDonald

Substitutes Not Used: GK Michelle Betos, F Jackie Acevedo, F Elisabeth Sullivan

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (McDonald, Sinclair, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (McDonald, 4); FOULS: 12 (Farrelly, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 6

KC: GK Nicole Barnhart, D Leigh Ann Robinson, D Kassey Kallman, D Becky Sauerbrunn, D Nikki Phillips (Morgan Marlborough, 89), M Jen Buczkowski, M Jenna Richmond, M Erika Tymrak, M Merritt Mathias (Frances Silva, 78), F Lauren Holiday, F Amy Rodriguez

Substitutes Not Used: GK Sara Keane, D Nia Williams, M Maegan Kelly, F Liz Bogus, F Melissa Henderson

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Holiday, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Holiday, 3); FOULS: 14 (Buczkowski, 5); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: 6

Referee: Katja Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, Ronald Lagraff
Fourth Official: Farhad Dadkho
Attendance: 14,124
Weather: Rain, 52 degrees

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