On Friday evening in Rochester, the Portland Thorns secured a 2-0 road win over the Western New York Flash in a matchup of two of the top teams in the NWSL.
The Thorns were able to keep a clean sheet against the high-scoring Flash despite some shuffling on the backline. Meghan Klingenberg was a late scratch for Portland with Meg Morris coming into the starting lineup. However, Morris was forced to exit the game early with an injury resulting in Mallory Weber replacing the defender.
Early in the first half, the Thorns got the first few chances forcing Flash goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom to make some saves. The Flash responded, almost opening the scoring midway through the first half as Samantha Mewis collected a cross from Jaelene Hinkle and hit a shot off the crossbar.
Early in the second half, Portland found the back of the net as Christine Sinclair slotted her shot past Eckerstrom after taking a pass from Allie Long. It was Sinclair’s second goal of the season and the first goal Eckerstrom has allowed this season.
Following the goal, the Flash put pressure on the Thorns highlighted by an Alanna Kennedy free kick that hit off the crossbar. However, it was Portland that found the next goal after Tobin Heath drew a foul in the box. Nadia Nadim stepped up and converted from the spot to double her team’s lead.
The Flash continued to put pressure on the Thorns, but could not cut into the deficit as goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made multiple saves late in the match.
With the win, the Thorns moves to the top of the table with 17 points.
Despite Portland’s win, this night will be remembered as Amandine Henry’s debut. The long-awaited arrival of the French superstar came in the 51st minute to top off an impressive night for the Thorns.
Next up for Portland is a midweek match at home against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, June 22, while the Flash will play at home against the Boston Breakers on Friday, June 24.
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