The Portland Thorns got a big lift from veterans Christine Sinclair and Lindsey Horan, earning a 3-2 road win over the Chicago Red Stars Saturday night.
Portland’s (1-1-0, 3 points) Horan scored in the ninth minute, then Chicago (0-1-1, 1 point) equalized with a deflection by Alyssa Mautz.
The Thorns tightened their defensive pressure as the match continued, with every player on the pitch challenging Chicago for the ball. The effort translated to the next Portland goal.
Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, the current U.S. women’s national team starter, nearly gave up a goal when an errant pass set Portland forward Mallory Weber up with an empty net. Weber’s shot sailed high in the 38th, but Sinclair scored two minutes later on an empty net when Naeher couldn’t get to a slow back pass.
The Red Stars’ Danielle Colaprico was called for a hand ball in the second half and Sinclair buried the penalty kick in the 65th minute.
Mautz added another goal for Chicago two minutes later, but Portland held off the Red Stars rally and held on for the Thorns’ first win of the 2018 season.
“We put them under a lot of pressure, turned [the ball] over and capitalized on some of their mistakes,” acting Portland head coach Rich Gunney told ThornsFC.com. “We were pleased with the performances, disappointed that we couldn’t have made it a little bit more stress free … It was a tough, tight game, but we we’re just pleased to perform well and get the result.”