No Kling, No Problem: Portland Thorns Blank Utah Royals

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Portland Thorns Blank Utah Royals

PORTLAND, OREGON (July 6, 2018) — No Meghan Klingenberg, no problem.

The Portland Thorns FC claimed a massive 4-0 victory against the Utah Royals at Providence Park without their regular-starting defender. Klingenberg served a one-game suspension against the Royals.

No Kling, No Problem: Portland Thorns Blank Utah Royals 4-0

In front of 17,930 fans, the Thorns blanked the playoff-fighting Royals with three first-half goals.

It took Tobin Heath only two minutes to kick off scoring for the Thorns. Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, who later scored in the 34th minute, recorded the assist.

Lindsey Horan also scored in the first half, during the 32nd minute. Heath assisted the goal of her fellow U.S. Women’s National Team partner.

Meanwhile, the final goal was scored by Tyler Lussi. The 23-year-old midfielder, who has made 11 appearances and three starts, scored her first goal of the year against Utah.

Lussi replaced Heath in the 62nd minute.

After the match, Portland Thorns Head Coach Mark Parsons said the match was a “really good, strong performance and a strong result with a great scoreline, especially at home.”

“[The crowd] felt like maybe the largest [this year] because the intensity was there,” Parsons said. “Credit to the players, I thought we came out with a lot of fire and bite and it was great to score early. The momentum and intensity that we decided to play with drove the rest of that first half on.”

“It was a great first half and a professionally-managed second half.”

However, the same couldn’t be said for Laura Harvey and the Utah Royals. The Royals head coach said that Portland got into a flow “really early and had a lot of the ball.”

“I think their pressure from the start was strong and they stomped our initial intentions of building out of the back,” Harvey said. “It also took us a while to get set after giving up a goal or two. We lost a bit of our momentum. So now we have to be stronger to pull back some of that momentum.”

Three Takeaways

  1. A tale of injuries continues for Purce: While Meghan Klingenberg was only missing due to a suspension, Margaret Purce suffered yet another injury to her ankle. According to Caitlin Murray of The Athletic, Parsons went over to a crying Purce after her halftime substitution out of the match.
  2. A mental lapse for Utah: After earning favorable results against the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC, the Royals dropped the ball against Portland. Both teams are almost at the same level. Right now, Portland is fighting for a playoff spot like Utah. However, this match showed which team might have a better chance at the postseason.
  3. Newbie of the Year: Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic has been a solid replacement for Dagný Brynjarsdóttir. The Icelandic international is on personal leave due to pregnancy and the birth of her first child. However, Crnogorcevic, who hails from Switzerland, is holding down the fort. In her first NWSL season, the Swiss midfielder has three goals and two assists.

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