Sinclair comes up big in close Portland Thorns victory over Chicago

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BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 31: Chicago Red Stars's Alyssa Mautz (4), Chicago Red Stars forward Sofia Huerta (11) and teammate celebrate after scoring the winning goal against the Portland Thorns FC on March 31, 2018 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – After falling in their rematch of the 2017 NWSL Championship game last week, the Portland Thorns secured an away victory against the Chicago Red Stars.

Sinclair comes up big in close Portland Thorns victory over Chicago

The Thorns were without head coach Mark Parsons for the trip.

Parsons was fined and suspended for two matches by the league on March 30. The NWSL said Parsons was being disciplined due to “an incident on the field following Portland’s match against the North Carolina Courage” on March 24.

Portland is currently appealing the decision.

Without Parsons, Portland managed to waltz out of Toyota Park with three points. Christine Sinclair had a brace with two goals in the 40th and 65th minutes.

Sinclair’s second goal was a penalty kick past Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. She called the win “massive” for Portland.

“It was end to end,” Sinclair said after the match. “Both teams are obviously missing a few players, but it was a scrappy game. I’m glad we could get three points on the board. We’ll take it.”

Portland was the first team on the scoreboard, with Lindsay Horan putting the first point on in the 9th minute.

Chicago, led by Head Coach Rory Dames, had two goals scored by Alyssa Mautz in the 31st and 67th minutes. Both goals were assisted by Sofia Huerta.

Chicago will travel to the West Coast next weekend for the Utah Royals FC home opener. Also celebrating a home opener are the Thorns against the Orlando Pride.

“I can’t wait,” Sinclair said. “Orlando, we seem to play them in big games. Hopefully we get to celebrate our championship from last season.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Get Angela Salem in the game: Last weekend against North Carolina, Portland did not use midfielder Angela Salem. This week, Salem went into the match in the 93rd minute for Midge Purce. For someone who was named the Boston Breakers Player of the Year last season, you’d think she’d get more time on the pitch.
  2. The Inconsistency of Alyssa Naeher: On Sinclair’s first goal, Naeher made one of the biggest rookie mistakes: slipping. With the way she — and even Orlando’s Ashlyn Harris — have been featuring, maybe it’s time for Jill Ellis, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach, to give some other goalkeepers a try. Naeher and Harris already know she’s paying attention.
  3. Hey Jill!: Another player Ellis is watching is Sofia Huerta. The midfielder for Chicago plays defense for the United States. Hey, Jill! Sofia, who had two assists, is a pretty good midfielder!

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