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Sky Blue score in 1st minute, defeat Thorns 3-1

Sky Blue scored less than 30 seconds into Saturday night’s match at Providence Park and never looked back in a 3-1 victory over Portland Thorns FC. Sam Kerr set up Raquel Rodriguez in the 1st minute and scored a second half brace in the win. Christine Sinclair tapped in a rebound of her own penalty miss deep in stoppage time to cost Kailen Sheridan a clean sheet on what was an excellent evening of work.

Sky Blue took the opening kick of the match and literally marched down the field and scored. McKenzie Meehan played Kerr wide and she somehow got off a cross around Meghan Klingenberg. Emily Sonnett got a head on it but it went right back to Kerr who crossed it again to Raquel Rodriguez. Thorns keeper Adrianna Franch left too much of the net open and Rodriguez was able to finish at the 25 second mark.

Opening minute goals rarely stand up and Sky Blue had a golden chance to add to the lead in the 32nd minute. Taylor Lytle played a long ball to Leah Galton and she drew a penalty kick from Celeste Bourielle. Sarah Killion, who was stopped from the spot by Franch two weeks ago in New Jersey, this time had the keeper moving the wrong way but misfired wide left. In doing so Killion became the first player in NWSL history to fail to convert on penalties in consecutive matches.

Killion’s miss looked like it might swing momentum to the Thorns, but Sheridan would not let it happen. Her best save of the night came from point blank range on Lindsay Horan who got her head on the end of a long ball by Sonnett. Sheridan was otherwise in command of her box throughout and was lucky on one sequence when Sinclair shot high several steps inside the 18-yard box with little between her and an equalizer.

The Thorns were made to play for their own missed chances. Galton was forced out of that match with that looked to be a leg injury, and it did not take her replacement Maya Hayes long to make an impact. After a Thorns’ free kick wandered aimlessly toward the Sky Blue defense the ball as returned to midfield where Hayes flicked it ahead to Kerr. Barely staying onside in front of a defense playing high, Kerr headed the ball down and moved on unopposed on Franch, faking her to the ground and then scoring to make it 2-0.

The Thorns thought they had immediately pulled one back but a borderline offside flag killed the play. Kerr then got behind the Thorns defense again, this time via Madison Tiernan in the 88th minute, and scored a second goal to make it 3-0 with less than 10 minutes to play.

The Thorns won a late penalty and Sheidan appeared to put the cap on a second career shutout when she dove left to make the save on Sinclair. But the rebound came loose and the all-time leading Canadian scorer blasted it home.

Sky Blue (5-4-1, 16 pts) moved into 3rd place and will visit 2nd place Chicago next Sunday, June 25. The Thorns (4-2-3, 15 pts) dropped to 4th and had their unbeaten streak snapped at six. They are in Washington next Saturday.


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