Portland Thorns FC defeated Kansas City NWSL 1-0 on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. Forward Simone Charley recorded the lone goal as the club welcomed the return of fans at 80% capacity in the stadium.
Along with increased number in the stands, the Thorns welcomed the return of their international players, as several key players from overseas featured in the starting eleven. Thorns captain Christine Sinclair returned from Canadian international duty and slotted back in for Portland along the front line, while Crystal Dunn and Lindsey Horan featured in the midfield and Adrianna Franch back in goal.
The home side got off to a quick start, aggressive in their attack in a high press, immediately getting a look on goal as Horan tried to connect on a header in the opening minute.
Kansas City were largely kept in the match behind a strong performance from goal keeper Abby Smith, as the Thorns continued to keep possession of the ball and remain active in the final third. Portland were issued an early penalty kick after a hand ball foul was called on defender Elizabeth Ball. Smith came up with a history penalty save against Sinclair. The Canadian international hadn't missed a penalty kick since 2017.
The opening goal finally came for the Thorns in first half stoppage time as Dunn connected with Charley for the breakthrough.
Second half shift
There were substitutions on both sides to start the second half as Kansas City attempted to get more active on offense with chances in the final third from Victoria Pickett and Gaby Vincent.
Despite the Thorns holding majority of possession, the team struggled with their finishing and couldn't find the go ahead goal. As the match entered stoppage time, Portland's narrow lead came into question as Franch made a late game save on shot from distance by Michelle Maemone.
Last chance efforts weren't enough for Kansas City however, as the team is now still on the hunt for their first win in the regular season.
The win for Portland is their third consecutive win and elevates the team to first place with 12 points, while Kansas City still sits in last place. The Thorns will face North Carolina Courage on June 26, as Kansas City have a quick turnaround and take on undefeated Orlando Pride on June 23.