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Portland Thorns defeat Houston Dash 3-0, clinch playoff spot

The Portland Thorns secured a playoff spot after the Seattle Reign fell to the Washington Spirit on Wednesday night. Looking to claim home field advantage for their playoff match (top two teams host semifinal matches before the final match), the Thorns fought out a 3-0 victory against the Houston Dash.

The first two goals were scored by Allie Long, and both were assisted by Tobin Heath while the final goal was added by Christine Sinclair.

The first came in the 26th minute of a free kick taken by Heath. Long impressively finished it with her back to the goal as she did her best to make contact. The ball sailed over a Lydia Williams who was caught well off her line.

Sinclair nearly doubled the lead in the 32nd minute as she faced Williams one-on-one, but her initial shot was saved, and the rebound went off the left post.

At half time, it was Portland 1, Houston 0.

In the 68th minute, Sinclair had another chance to score, but she was once again denied at the goal line by William’s left foot.

Then in the 71st minute, Long scored her second goal of the night as Heath served in a cross, which Long juggled twice to gain control, and then as it settled on the ground, she turned and unleashed a left-footed shot into the lower right corner to make it 2-0.

Sinclair finally got her own goal in the 90th minute as Meghan Klingenberg’s free kick into the penalty area was mishandled by Williams, and Sinclair pounced on it to extend the lead to 3-0.

With the victory, and help from the Spirit, the Thorns will advance to the playoffs with two and a half weeks left in the regular season.

While not yet mathematically set in stone, the Thorns will most likely finish second in the league and host a semifinal.

Portland will remain at home for the weekend’s fixture, hosting the Western New York Flash at 6:30 p.m. PT at Providence Park. The match will air live on FS1.


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