The high-powered roster of the Portland Thorns was too much to handle for the Orlando Pride, as the hosts claimed the win at Providence Park on Saturday. A successful spot kick conversion in the first half and a second-half insurance goal saw the defending National Women’s Soccer League Shield winners record a 2-0 victory.
How it Happened
It was a nervy start to the match as both sides struggled to maintain possession and shape. A couple of early mistakes by Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch and the Portland defense led to a few chances for Jasmyne Spencer, but the striker was unable to find the back of the net.
As the first half continued, the Thorns began to look like the more dangerous side as their runs were beginning to open up the Pride defense. Ashlyn Harris was called into action and made a pair of saves to keep scoreline level.
The first goal of the match came in the 32nd minute as Nadia Nadim tucked home a spot kick after a hand ball was called on Alanna Kennedy in the box.
A lively start to the second half from the Pride (0-1-0, 0 points) failed to produce an equalizer and the Thorns (1-0-0, 3 points) went up 2-0 in the 67th minute. Allie Long fed a through ball to Christine Sinclair, and the Canadian international star fired home her first of the season.
In the end, the Thorns held on to the clean sheet in front of a crowd of 16,145.
Despite the scoreline, the Pride had their opportunities to score. They out-shot their opponents, 19-11. Chioma Ubogagu and Spencer did well to try and create opportunities, but the midfield did not give them the support they needed.
The introduction of Marta into the lineup will be a welcome sight and will certainly give the club another dimension going forward. The Pride could have used her today but at the end of the day it’s the opening match of the season and there’s still plenty of time for Orlando to gel.
Up next, the Pride will host the Washington Spirit next Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on Lifetime.