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NWSL Friday: Late goals aren’t enough to produce win for Utah, Portland

Christen Press goal
SANDY, UT - JULY 19: Forward Christen Press #23 celebrates scoring the 1:1 for Utah Royals FC with her teammates Katie Stengle #24 during the NWSL game between Utah Royals FC and Portland Thorns FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 19, 2019 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)

Utah Royals FC 2, Portland Thorns FC 2

Lesson learned for the Portland Thorns FC players: don’t give Christen Press space. The striker will dribble, dribble and continue to dribble until she gets a chance at net. She put that on display against the Portland Thorns, too, in Utah’s 1-1 draw with the club. Press nutmegged Thorns defender Elizabeth Ball, then found her way past Adrianna Franch.

It was a goal that shows why Press is so dominant in the attack. However, her goal wasn’t enough to secure three points for the Royals. There were other chances, too. Most notably, the Royals had a chance from Katie Stengel in the 59th minute, who took a left-footed shot. However, Adrianna Franch stepped up and made a big-time save.

Stengel had another opportunity on a header delivered by Kelley O’Hara four minutes later. However, she put it wide of Franch’s net.

Meanwhile, for the Thorns, a point on the road was collected. Portland struck first, with an early goal in the first half from Christine Sinclair. After settling the ball with her chest, Sinclair took a right-footed shot and lobbed it over Nicole Barnhart. Portland’s second goal came in the 87th minute, as Lindsey Horan slipped a goal past Barnhart. However, the Thorns couldn’t wrap up three points.

Instead, Rachel Corsie snuck the ball through Franch’s legs for the equalizer in the 90th minute.

Both teams tried again with a few more attempts, but the final whistle called game. With the draw and one point, Portland has jumped into the first place spot in the NWSL. However, North Carolina still has a chance to take back the top spot, as they face off with the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Utah currently owns the fifth place spot with 18 points.

Goal Summary

  • Portland Thorns FC (Christine Sinclair, 9′)
  • Utah Royals FC (Christen Press, 43′)
  • Portland Thorns FC (Lindsey Horan, 87′)
  • Utah Royals FC (Rachel Corsie, 90′)

Caution Summary

  • Portland Thorns FC (Caitlin Foord, 83′)

— Rachael McKriger

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