Rumi Utsugi scored the game-winner in the 70th minute of a 3-2 thriller for the Reign (3-1-1, 10 points) to take three points from the Thorns (2-2-2, 8) at Providence Park.
“Coming over here, getting three points is one of the best feelings in the league,” Seattle midfielder Jess Fishlock said during a postgame interview on the Lifetime television broadcast. “It’s a good game for us both. I think they’re still figuring their things out, we’re still trying to figure things out … You could see that in the way things were swinging back and forth. They had momentum, we had momentum, they had momentum, we had momentum.”
That momentum started with the Reign, who scored in the 36th minute for a 1-0 lead.
After consistently pressuring inside Portland’s penalty area and firing a couple near-misses — an 18th-minute strike from Mallory Weber that hit the crossbar stood out most — Nahomi Kawasumi sent a corner kick to the head of Bev Yanez, who was centered on goal and redirected the ball into the upper left side of the net for her first goal of the year.
Seattle continued to control possession in the first half, and maintained that lead entering halftime.
Portland made a couple changes in the second half, sending Tobin Heath out in place of Weber and subbing Andressinha on for Celeste Boureille.
Emily Sonnett evened the score for Portland in the 61st minute, but then Ana-Maria Crnogorčević brought down Fishlock in the penalty box. Jodie Taylor converted the ensuing penalty kick to put Seattle back on top 2-1.
The announced home crowd of 16,054 roared when Portland scored what would have been another equalizer, but quickly quieted when the official called the play offside. Supporters got a chance to celebrate moments later when Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan tied it up off a header in the 70th minute.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) May 5, 2018
Five minutes later, Utsugi responded for Seattle from a distance, releasing her left-footed game-winner into the bottom corner of the net.
Chance after chance for both sides failed to change the outcome. Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos finished the match with eight saves, while Britt Eckerstrom had four for Portland.
The match marked Seattle’s first victory in Portland since 2015. It was the first of three meetings between the regional rivals this season. The Reign now sit in second place, behind North Carolina, in the NWSL standings. The Thorns are in fourth place.
“It’s just another building block in the process,” Seattle’s Allie Long said on the broadcast. In the background, Thorns star Tobin Heath stared vacantly at the crowd, chest heaving after a fierce battle lost.
Portland travels to face the Houston Dash on Wednesday, and the Reign now finally head home for a May 12 match against Sky Blue FC.
After four road matches, we're finally back home on Saturday, May 12.
— Seattle Reign FC (@ReignFC) May 5, 2018