Thorns FC tie at home, Playoff home game in doubt
The season series between the Portland Thorns and the Chicago Red stars has not gone well for the home team.
On April 27th and May 5th, the Thorns went into the Red Stars home field at Benedictine University and beat them 2-0 each time.
On June 1st, the then winless Chicago Red Stars came into Jeld-Wen and beat Thorns FC 2-0.
Sunday’s 3-3 tie represents the first point pulled by the either home team this season, but that will be very little comfort given the way it happened.
Portland lead 1-0 at half on an intelligent set piece in which Tobin Heath chipped to Christine Sinclair, behind the opponent’s wall, producing a nice half volley finish.
2-0 came in the 55th when after a couple missed chances, Thorns FC hit on a break and found Mana Shim’s late run into the box.
At this point things looked positive. Thorns were pressing and creating chances, then the first leak. Alyssa Mautz found space against Marian Dougherty and stuck a ball Past Thorns gk Karina LeBlanc.
The response was good when, Christine Sinclair, again played in by Heath, scored her second. Huge for Sinclair, to finally break a goal drought going back to may.
Then the wheels came off: two late goals and two points squandered.
Watching it was difficult to tell if it was the heat that played a part, or if the Thorns are simply unfit, but there was definitely a let down late in the game. From 3-1 up, we lost respect for our opponent and they punished us. Hopefully a lesson learned heading into a battle for a home playoff birth.
Wednesday’s nights game against Sky Blue FC (of New Jersey) will likely determine whether the Thorns maintain a chance of hosting a home playoff game. Top 2 seeds will host seeds 4 and 3. Winners to play in the final. All 3 playoff games will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, soon to be Fox Sports 1.
Thorns FC currently sit 3rd. Standings from www.nwslsoccer.com
|National Women’s Soccer League 2013