Portland Thorns

Portland Thorns

So close, but not close enough.

Portland Thorns FC was inches away from the first win of the season, on multiple occasions, but left the pitch with another draw, 1-1 against the Washington Spirit, to remain winless on the 2020 NWSL season through three games. 

The player of the match for Thorns FC was easily former NWSL MVP Lindsey Horan. She not only got the lone goal for Portland in the 69th minute off of a gorgeous diving header, but she was also largely responsible for Thorns FC dominating large parts of the game.

"I felt like we were a very, very dominant team and in control for huge majorities," said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. "We should have gotten a couple of goals in the first half with that dominance but we didn't."

Portland ended the game with 52.4% possession but Portland had 58.5% possession in the first half when Parsons feels his club should have put the match away. However, the one stat that matters (goals) ended in a tie, 1-1.

"They also snuck in a couple of times which is areas to improve," elaborated Parsons. 

No defensive lapse was more deadly than with less than ten minutes after Horan's goal in the 77th minute, the Spirit got on the board off of a header by Samantha Staab set up by a set-piece of their own. To make it even more heartbreaking, the ball was just barely not saved by Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg.

 

Then, in the 88th minute, Horan was inches away from getting a potential game-winning goal past the keeper.

People say American football is a game of inches, but today for Portland, so was football itself. 

Despite the draw, Portland forward Tyler Lussi was encouraged by the team's performance. 

Third game in we're definitely improving. We're connecting a lot better. 

Parsons also has full faith in his club going forward, betting on the culture that he believes will get the desired results, even if it hasn't so far. 

"I love the culture," said Portland's coach. "We are doing great work on the field."

Now, it's up for the team to trust the culture, have that improvement show once again, finish in the final third, and get three points next match.

Thankfully, Thorns FC will have a week of rest before seeking their first victory of the season against heated rival OL Reign on Monday, July 13 at 9:30 a.m. on CBS All Access.