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Portland’s back-to-back NWSL Championship hopes end in extra time

(Photo Credit Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

Nearly three quarters of an inch of rain fell in Providence Park Sunday night as the Portland Thorns faced off against NJ/NY Gotham on a blustery and wet Pacific Northwest night. The defensive stalemate kept both teams scoreless through regulation and until Gotham finally broke through in the second period of extra time on a 107th minute Katie Stengel goal.

“It felt very much like a battle out there that both sides had their chances,” Thorns defender Becky Sauerbrunn said after the match. “Both sides defended quite well, both sides had chances and they just happen to finish one and we didn’t. Sometimes soccer — it’s a little cruel. Disappointing for sure.”

After the match, Thorns head coach Mike Norris stated, “it was probably the tight contest we thought it would be. Really proud of the performance we put out there. We didn’t think we’d have necessarily a ton of chances, but we thought the chances we will get would be good ones just based on how we felt they would approach the game.”

Statistically the match looked fairly level, Portland ended the match with 11 shots, 3 on target, and 0.62 expected goals (xG) while Gotham had 13 shots, 3 on target, and 0.5 xG. Gotham’s defensive plan was to neutralize Sophia Smith as much as possible. Considering she only had 10 passes the entire match, and three fouls won-all of which earned the committer a yellow card, it clearly worked.

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