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Portland Thorns roll over Utah Royals 4-0

The Portland Thorns (6-5-5, 23 points) took a lead in the second minute of play Friday night, beginning a dominant display that ended with a 4-0 victory over the Utah Royals (5-4-6, 21 points) in front of an announced 17,930 at Providence Park. 

Tobin Heath scored that opening goal, and then Lindsey Horan and Ana-Maria Crnogorčević each scored in a three-minute span to put the home side up 3-0 before halftime.

Tyler Lussi, who subbed on for Heath, scored a 62nd-minute goal to cap the night, sending Portland from sixth place in the NWSL standings to third, tied in points with second-place Seattle. Utah is now in sixth place following the worst loss of the expansion club’s short, 15-game history.

With the emphatic win came a devastating loss for Portland, as Midge Purce was stretchered off the field with a right ankle injury after a studs-up tackle by Royals midfielder Diana Matheson, who received a yellow card for the foul. 

Purce — playing at left back for the first time due to Meghan Klingenberg’s suspension for violent conduct — returned to the starting lineup after recovering from an injury to the same ankle. 

The Thorns return home next week to play the Houston Dash, while Utah continues on to Seattle for a midweek match.

GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN

Courtesy of NWSL

POR: MF Tobin Heath, 2’ – Receiving the ball on the far side of the field, Heath initiated a give-and-go with teammate Ana Crnogorcevic inside of the box and took a one-time volley over the head of GK Abby Smith.

POR: MF Lindsey Horan, 32’ – Running inside of the box, Horan connected on the end of a Tobin Heath set-piece, redirecting her header into the far-post. 

POR: FW Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, 34’ – In a Lindsey Horan attempt to find a streaking Tobin Heath, URFC DF Becky Sauerbrunn blocked the pass and deflected the ball to an opportunistic Crnogorcevic waiting at the top of the box. A one-time touch by the Swiss star found the low far-post. 

POR: FW Tyler Lussi, 62’ – Horan received the ball near the center of the pitch and passed a through ball past the Utah defensive line, connecting with the foot of a running Tyler Lussi – who took a one-time shot past Smith into the net. 

Lineups:

Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Abby Smith, Sam Johnson (Sydney Miramontez, 52’),Rachel Corsie, Becky Sauerbrunn, Becca Moros, Desiree Scott, Gunny Jonsdottir, Katrina Gorry (Lo’eau LaBonta, 65’), Diana Matheson, Amy Rodriguez (Katie Stengel, 75’), Christen Press

Substitutes not used: Nicole Barnhart, Taylor Lytle, Brittany Ratcliffe, Erika Tymrak

Portland Thorns FC (4-3-3): Adrianna Franch, Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, Celeste Bourielle, Ellie Carpenter, Midge Purce (Mallory Weber, 46’), Lindsey Horan, Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath (Tyler Lussi, 62’), Ana Marie Crnogorcevic, Hayley Raso (Elizabeth Ball, 85’)

Subs not used: Britt Eckerstrom, Ifeoma Onumonu, Angela Salem, Kelli Hubly

Stats Summary: UTA / POR

Shots: 7 / 9

Shots on Goal: 3 / 6

Saves: 2 / 3

Corner Kicks: 4 / 3

Fouls: 11 / 9

Offside: 2 / 2

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

UTA: Samantha Johnson, 31’ (caution)

UTA: Diana Matheson, 45’ (caution)

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