Just result sees both teams extend NWSL unbeaten runs

By Gunnar Berndt

Chicago, Ill. – In a battle between two of the top teams in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns FC played to a just 1-1 draw on Sunday evening. While Chicago was able to extend its current unbeaten run to seven games, Portland remains undefeated on the season, a total of eight matches. The visitors from Oregon grabbed the lead in the first half, courtesy of Canada legend Christine Sinclair opening her 2016 account, followed by Christen Press’ fourth of the season to tie things up after the break.

The day’s first noteworthy chance came just after the quarter-hour mark, Thorns FC attacker Nadia Nadim driving in a low cross from the right that was hit first-time by Portland captain Sinclair from inside the area. Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher barely managed to get her body behind the ball and breathed a sigh of relief as it trickled along the goal line before being touched behind by an opposition player.

Sinclair did open the scoring on a Samantha Johnson backpass in the 24th minute, reaping the rewards of the intense pressure she put on Naeher, whose attempted clearance bounced off the 32-year-old forward and into the back of the net. The home side nearly leveled the match eight minutes later, Vanessa DiBernardo swinging in a corner kick from the right that found the head of Casey Short. The Chicagoland native popped the ball up to Amanda DaCosta, who was facing away from goal inside the five-yard box and produced a beautiful bicycle kick that was blocked point-blank by netminder Adriana Franch.

Portland had a great look of its own the the 36th minute, as league assists leader Tobin Heath sent a pinpoint-accurate cross into the area from the left wing that was nodded just over the frame by Iceland standout Dagny Brynjarsdottir. The two teams continued to go back and forth, as the Red Stars’ Short headed just wide at the other end moments from the halftime whistle, making contact with one of several excellent DiBernardo services from the right flank.

After the break, outside back Short remained active on offense, and she would be involved in her side’s equalizer, sending a long ball to edge of the penalty area just after the hour mark. Substitute Alyssa Mautz displayed excellent awareness in between opposition defenders, as she chested the ball down and into the path of Press, who saw her first-time hit touch off the fingertips of the fully extended Franch and bounce off the underside off the crossbar. Despite the Thorns FC goalkeeper’s best efforts to hustle back and scrape the ball out of danger, she was unable to do so before it crossed the line.

With the two foes fighting tooth-and-nail for the remainder of the match, the fans at Toyota Park witnessed little of significance, besides a flurry of yellow cards between the 74th and 88th minutes of play, the Red Stars picking up three and their opponents going into the book once. In the end, the teams settled for a hard-fought draw that should make for a fascinating rematch in Portland on June 22.

Before traveling to the Pacific Northwest, Chicago looks to make it eight unbeaten and climb into first place with a win over visiting Boston Breakers on Saturday, June 18. Individual and season tickets for Chicago’s 2016 campaign at Toyota Park in Bridgeview may be purchased by calling 773-697-8699 or clicking here.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: June 12, 2016
Venue: Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 3,131

Scoring Summary:

1 2 T
CHI 0 1 1
POR 1 0 1

POR – Christine Sinclair 24’
CHI  – Christen Press 61’ (Alyssa Mautz)

Lineups:

CHI: 1-Alyssa Naeher Goalkeeper; 3-Arin Gilliland Right Back, 8-Julie Johnston Center Back, 16-Samantha Johnson Center Back, 6-Casey Short Left Back; 10-Vanessa DiBernardo Right Midfielder, 24-Danielle Colaprico Midfielder, 13-Amanda DaCosta Left Midfielder (7-Taylor Comeau Substitute, 68’) 11-Sofia Huerta Forward (12-Cara Walls Substitute, 84’), 23-Christen Press Forward (capt.), 2-Jen Hoy Forward (4-Alyssa Mautz Substitute, 46’)
Subs not used: 18-Michele Dalton Goalkeeper, 5-Katie Naughton Goalkeeper, 15-Courtney Raetzman Substitute, 34-Mary Luba Substitute
Head Coach: Rory Dames

POR: 24-Adriana Franch Goalkeeper; 2-Katherine Reynolds Right Back, 16-Emily Sonnett Center Back, 4-Emily Menges Center Back, 25-Meghan Klingenberg Left Back; 9-Nadia Nadim Right Midfielder (21-Hayley Raso Substitute, 90’), 10-Allie Long Midfielder, 7-Lindsey Horan Midfielder, 17-Tobin Heath Left Midfielder; 12-Christine Sinclair Forward (capt.); 11-Dagny Brynjarsdottir Forward (44-Meg Morris Substitute, 59’)
Subs not used: 18-Michelle Betos Goalkeeper, 20-McKenzie Berryhill Substitute, 30-Celeste Boureille Substitute, 26-Mallory Weber Substitute
Head Coach: Mark Parsons

Stats Summary: CHI / POR
Shots: 5 / 6
Shots on Goal: 1 / 4
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 11 / 12
Offside: 3 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
CHI – Sofia Huerta (yellow card; defensive handling) 74’
CHI – Alyssa Mautz (yellow card; defensive handling) 75’
CHI – Arin Gilliland (yellow card; defensive handling) 84’
POR – Nadia Nadim (yellow card; defensive handling) 88’

Officials:
Referee: Levi Rippy
Assistant Referee 1: Joshua Haimes
Assistant Referee 2: Christopher Elliott
Fourth Official: Margaret Domka

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