Portland Thorns: Another Tie against Washington Spirit

Portland Thorns

via Portland Thorns’ Facebook page

There was some question as to which Portland Thorns team would show up at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday night to take on the Washington Spirit.  The answer was unequivocally…the tired one.

After a two hour weather delay, the Thorns came out looking a bit less shiny than they had in the previous blow-out against the Boston Breakers at home, 6-3, but still managing to move the ball around and create a few chances.

The Thorns tallied the first score, as forward, Alex Morgan fought her way through two defenders to take a beautiful ball in from defender, Steph Catley.  With a quick look up, Morgan saw that keeper Ashlyn Harris had come up off her line and chipped it neatly up and over.  Harris could only shake her head as she watched the ball drop neatly into the net.

It was certainly not an issue of chances not appearing for the Thorns.  A one-on-one between Morgan and Harris ended with Harris managing to knock the ball away despite Morgan’s effort to side-step her and put the ball in.  This followed a now-familiar pass from midfielder and Spanish international, Vero Boquete, that slid up the middle into the right side of the box for Morgan, whose hard shot to the right was denied by a diving Harris.

The Thorns looked ever-more flat-footed and heavy-legged as the match marched on.  After a very crisp defense in the first 15 minutes of the match, the Thorns defense found themselves unable to keep up with the pace of the Spirit, often trying and failing to chase down fumbled passes that had less pace and awareness as the time ticked off.

The Spirit seemed to have found the key to slowing down the Thorns midfield as they kept Boquete occupied for most of the match, forcing her to play more defensively and back further than she normally would, and thereby keeping her from showing off her usual dazzling touches and service into the team of Sinclair and Morgan.

Washington’s equalizer came as Washington forward, Jodie Taylor took a page from Morgan’s playbook and pushed through the Thorns backline to intercept a well-placed through-ball from midfielder, Diana Matheson.  She pulled the ball to the right in a one-0n-one with Thorns keeper, Nadine Angerer and found a nearly-impossible angle to fire the ball into the net.

The Thorns will be taking it on the road again, Sunday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, in a Cascadia clash with playoff ramifications.  The Seattle Reign, with an already secured playoff spot, will attempt the play the spoilers to a Thorns Championship repeat run.

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