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Thorns, Red Stars trade PKs, share points again

The Chicago Red Stars came back on Portland Thorns FC for the second time in five days. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars traded penalty kicks on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw at Benedictine University outside of Chicago, marking the second time in five days the Red Stars came back on Portland to steal a point.

Thorns midfielder Allie Long converted a penalty kick in the 27th minute after Christen Press tripped Veronica Boquete at the top corner of the box. Long slotted the ball past former teammate Karina LeBlanc for her sixth goal of the season.

But Emily Van Egmond’s penalty kick in the 86th minute ensured the Red Stars left with a point, just as they did on Friday in Portland when Christen Press scored twice late to salvage a tie for Chicago. On Wednesday, Thorns defender Nikki Marshall was called for a handball in the box, leading to Van Egmond’s penalty kick.

“The first half tonight is the best we’ve played all year,” Red Stars coach Rory Dames said. “We were unlucky not to take 3 points tonight. We didn’t give away a lot of chances.”

Shannon Boxx made her season debut for the Red Stars have after coming back from giving birth in February. Boxx started, but was substituted off in the 41st minute for Vanessa DiBernardo.

“It’s taken some time to come back, but I feel great,” Boxx said. “We knew I didn’t want to take it too long tonight being my first game back.”

Press nearly scored the winner for Chicago in the 89th minute, but her curling right-footed effort just missed the top corner. She also had a would-be goal called back earlier in the half for being offside. Press was a step in front of Portland’s back line.

Red Stars captain Lori Chalupny was active throughout the night, forcing several key saves from Thorns goalkeeper Nadine Angerer in the first half.

Sinead Farrelly had Portland’s best opportunity of the night from the run of play in the 52nd minute, when she put a 20-yard shot just wide of goal on a counterattack.

The tie keeps both teams tied on points with identical records (6-6-4, 22 pts.) and outside of the four playoff spots.

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