Portland Thorns FC are heading back to the NWSL Championship, and it took every element they had in them to accomplish it. Against a Seattle Reign FC side that predictably played a much better match than the one eight days earlier, the Thorns needed some special individual efforts, some weathering of a storm, halftime adjustments, and mental fortitude to overcome their bitter rivals and return to the final.
Here are three thoughts on the match.
A.D. was the X-factor
It took some doing for the Thorns to get out of the first half with the score tied. For much of the opening 45 they were badly outplayed, and 29 minutes in, found themselves down a goal. It was the 13 minutes after the Reign scored that were most vital to the Thorns’ victory. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was front and center in that quarter hour.
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