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Portland Thorns record 1-1 draw with Houston Dash

The Portland Thorns scored first and had an opportunity to take all three points in Houston Wednesday night.

But they couldn’t grind out the win.

Swiss forward Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic scored her first goal as a Thorn, but it wasn’t enough as Portland (2-2-3, 9 points) settled for a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dash (1-3-3, 6 points) at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Thorns are now winless in their last four games, the longest stretch that the club has gone without a victory during Mark Parsons’ tenure as head coach. Portland, which conceded the fewest goals in the NWSL in each of the last two seasons, has also allowed a disappointing 10 goals in seven games this year.

Even though the Thorns were playing on the road Wednesday, the club had agood opportunity to break out of its recent slump and earn a win against a struggling Houston side.

The Dash were coming off a surprising 3-2 win over Sky Blue FC Saturday, but that match seemed like an anomaly for Houston, who had scored just one goal and failed to post a win in its first five games of the season prior to Saturday’s match.

Thorns starmidfielder Tobin Heath, who has dealt with multiple injuries over the last year, and Brazilian midfielder Andressihna both earned their first starts of the season for Portland inWednesday’s game. On the other side of the field, the Dash made the decision to hold star forward Kealia Ohai out of Wednesday’s match due to the club’s compacted schedule this week – a move that should have made the matchup even more favorable for Portland.

The Thorns clearly looked like the better team in the first half of the game as they found possession in dangerous spots around Houston’s box and created multiple chances during the first 45 minutes.

Portlandscored the opening goal in the 25th minute when Crnogorcevic pounced on a loose ball in the box and sent a left-footed shot into the back of the net. It was Crnogorcevic’s first goal since joining the Thorns in April.

But things turned in Houston’s favor in the second half.

The Dash found the equalizer in the 57th minute when Kyah Simon got on the end of a pass from Veronica Latsko and fired a shot into the goal. Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom didn’t react quickly enough to the shot and couldn’t stop it from going into the corner of the net.

After their goal, the Dash continued to pressure the Thorns as they looked for the go-ahead goal. Latsko put a header on goal in the 63rd minute, but Eckerstrom did a good job to knock the ball off the post and wide. Eckerstrom then knocked away a shot from Nichelle Prince three minutes later.

Portland had a chance to find the game-winner in the 81st minute when Lindsey Horan put a header on goal off a corner kick. But Janine van Wyk headed the ball off the line to preserve the draw for Houston.

— Jamie Goldberg | jgoldberg@oregonian.com

503-853-3761 | @ jamiebgoldberg

2018 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

Visit The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) at www.oregonian.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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