Saturday's attendance was 20,895. NOT TOO SHABBY PDX!
Saturday's attendance was 20,895. NOT TOO SHABBY PDX! Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC

The Portland Thorns SPOOKED the Washington Spirit 3-1 Saturday night at Providence Park! HOLY DARYL HANNAH IN A FISH SUIT—THE THORNS MADE A SATURDAY NIGHT SPLASH!

I was a little nervous when I woke up on game day to hear about the IMPENDING FACE OFF between the Proud Boys and Antifa in downtown Portland. CONFLICT MAKES ME ANXIOUS! But as the game grew closer protesters had mostly dispersed and, just like the doctor told me about the mole on my shoulder, THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Sure, there was chatter on Twitter that attendance numbers might suffer on account of fans not feeling safe getting to the stadium, but with over 20 thousand folks in attendance on Saturday, it was obvious TWITTER LIED AND WAS JUST FILLED WITH LOUD ANGRY OPINIONS.

SPOOKY STATS
This was only the second time the Thorns played the Spirit this season. The first matchup was in Maryland and the Thorns lost 1-3. BOOOOOOOOO! Entering this match, the Thorns had only lost one of their last five matches and the not-so-SPOOKTACULAR Spirits have only won one once in their last five. There is one more meet-up between these two teams at the very end of the regular season in mid-October—and the Thorns will SMUDGE THOSE SPIRITS WHEN THE TIME COMES!

via GIPHY

ROCKIN’ ROSTER
The lineup for the Thorns was STACKED on Saturday. All the National team players were in attendance and healthy for play. It was disappointing to hear that defender Gabby Seiler had torn her ACL the day before at practice, and will be out for the remainder of the season. Celeste Raspberry Boureille has been out with an ankle injury for a few weeks, so here’s hoping we can keep this injury report to a minimum in this later part of the season. I'm knocking on wood when I type this (it’s harder than it sounds), but it’s looking like another playoff berth is very possible for the Thorns this year, and there's little that can stop the Thorns when they are healthy!

Nobody puts baby in a corner, but Tobin Heath loves it there!
Nobody puts baby in a corner, but Tobin Heath loves it there!

GAME TIME
There are a few Thorns players that blast into the game with wild abandon, READY AND HUNGRY from the first whistle. Forward Hayley Raso has always been one of those players. A good bit of fans were still waiting in line for their pints and pretzels when Raso scored the first goal of the evening. In the fifth minute Thorns defender Emily Menges sent a long ball up the field to the feet of Thorns captain Christine Sinclair. Sinc took two touches of the ball, then sent it up and over to the head of Dagny Brynjarsdottir. CRAP! SHE MISSED IT! Brynjarsdottir fell to the ground and the ball bounced to the center of the box. But wait, who’s that waiting for a rebound? It’s everyone’s favorite FAST and FURIOUS AUSSIE—RASO! Somehow this woman is able to kick while she turned her body to face the goal in one motion and bend the ball right past the goalie! CROSS CHOPS AND CROP TOPS! IT’S A BEAUTY OF A SHOT!

Sure, Brynjarsdottir was still getting up from the ground and technically in the goalie’s way. Sure, some referees would have called “offside” or “obstruction of justice” or whatever the term for that is—but this dude didn’t and, quite frankly, WE WILL TAKE IT!

Raso nearly scored a second goal in the 19th minute after receiving a honey of a ball from Heath. Raso dribbled and was clear for a close-range shot, but Washington’s goalie Aubrey Bledsoe got her giant hand on the ball and pushed it over the goal. DAGNABBIT!

It was off that corner kick from Heath that Emily Sonnett was able to move the ball past the chaos and goalie with the most Mary Poppins-style kick I've ever seen. It was a STEP IN TIME and the Thorns were up 2-0!

Sure, the Thorns went into halftime with a 2-0 lead, but the Spirit had their chances. Portland’s goalie AD Franch GOT IT DONE and kept National star Rose Lavelle, from scoring in the first half. Franch kept her focus and came out of the first 45 with a couple of nice saves.

The second half offered similar excitement. The Thorns looked to drop back and focus on defending and keeping the score in their favor. But there is only so much defending one team can do until... THEY SCORE AGAIN! Tobin Heath delivered another corner kick and Sinclair was in the right place at the right time and was able to put the PERFECT TOUCH on the ball from the center of the box and land it against the net. Not a banger, just a quiet, quaint touch in the right place! MOONWALKS AND ANTACID CHALKS—IT’S 3-0

It’s not that the Thorns had become lackadaisical with such a healthy lead, it’s just that the Spirit were not ready to back down or give in. They kept the fight up and managed to get on the board with a goal in the 68th minute. Thorn’s midfielder Lindsey Horan was defending Andi Sullivan at the top, but far enough out of the box. Horan gave her a little space and Sullivan saw the goal clearly, reared back, and sent a missile of a shot past Franch. A HAUNTING SHOT INDEED!

That goal gave the Spirit a blast of hope that resonated through the remaining minutes of the match. There were moments and shots when I could see how the Spirit could pull off a draw. But I also saw a motley crew of Thorns defenders unwilling to let the lead go or give one more goal up. And when I say AD FRANCH SAVED OUR ASSES. I mean that in the all caps way. TGFF: THANK GOD FOR FRANCH!

Christine SInclair has scorred more goals than any other Thorn. She just cant help herself!
Christine SInclair has scorred more goals than any other Thorn. She just can't help herself! Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC

MOVING FORWARD
This solid win keeps the Thorns at the top of the NWSL standings with six left games to finish out the regular season. Portland’s next game is on Sunday, August 25 at noon. The league standings are super tight right now, so you don’t want to miss a match! You can get your tickets here! Meanwhile, follow me on twitter at @erinjeanius and go Thorns!
Alls well that ends well in Providence Park.
All's well that ends well in Providence Park. Photo courtesy of Portland Thorns FC