On the final day of the 2016 NWSL season, the Portland Thorns took on Sky Blue with a chance to take the Shield with a win or draw.
The Thorns earned the Shield in style coming back from an early deficit to defeat Sky Blue 3-1.
Sky Blue got out to an early lead in the sixth minute when Kelley O’Hara found Tasha Kai at the back post off a corner kick. Kai won a header and sent the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Portland looked for a quick response following Kai’s goal as Lindsey Horan struck a shot in the box, but her attempt was blocked by defender Kristin Grubka.
In the 18th minute, Portland’s Meghan Klingenberg sent in a cross to Christine Sinclair, but her header was directed right at Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Casey.
Late in the first half the Thorns found an equalizer off a Tobin Heath free kick. Heath sent the ball into the box and Allie Long flicked a header past Casey to make it 1-1.
Heath’s assist was her 10th of the 2016 regular season, an NWSL record.
In the second half, Portland found a breakthrough in the 57th minute as Horan got on the end of a Nadia Nadim cross and converted a diving header to give her team the lead.
Long clinched the victory and Shield for Portland in the 84th minute as she scored her second goal of the match to make it 3-1.
The Thorns remained in control for the rest of the match as the team earned a 3-1 victory and the 2016 NWSL Shield. The win was Portland’s first ever win at Yurcak Field.
The Thorns finish the 2016 regular season with 41 points and will host the Western New York Flash in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs on Sunday, October 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Sky Blue finishes the season in seventh place with 26 points.
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