Sam Kerr is on fire right now, but even she couldn’t carry the Chicago Red Stars to a road win over the Portland Thorns.
Kerr scored the first two goals of the match, but the Thorns rallied for 2-2 draw and a point at home in a crucial match in the NWSL playoff race.
The Thorns’ comeback kept Portland in third place in the tight race with 33 points. The Red Stars moved into fourth place, a point ahead of Orlando, with 31 points. With Orlando’s match at North Carolina getting postponed until Sunday, all three teams have three matches remaining. The Red Stars next play at Orlando on Aug. 25 in what could be a decisive match for the final playoff spot.
Kerr opened the scoring in the 44th minute by turning two defenders around on the dribble and drilling a shot near post. She doubled the lead in the 49th minute by heading in a cross from Vanessa DiBernardo.
Kerr now has 12 goals on the season, with seven goals in her past five matches. She took the league lead in goals from Thorns’ midfielder Lindsey Horan, who has 11.
Portland was able to rally first through Tobin Heath. Red Stars’ goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher punched away a cross and Heath was able to head in the rebound.
Naeher was taken out following her initial clearance and was not able to get back in goal. Red Stars players and coaches showed their frustration, including Kerr in the post-match interview on the ESPNEWS broadcast.
“I feel disappointed,” Kerr said. “We were the better team tonight. I think everyone could see that. The shots proved that. I just think some bad calls changed the game.”
The Red Stars had an 18-7 edge in shots and led 7-4 in shots on target.
The Thorns tied the match in the 69th minute when Christine Sinclair roofed a cross from Heath.
“It was a good response,” Heath said on the broadcast. “We had a terrible first half, especially here at home we expect better out of ourselves. We had a better intensity in the second half.”
The Red Stars haven’t beat the Thorns since June 1, 2013, and have only one win against Portland all-time.