With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees Saturday night, the Portland Thorns returned home, desperately seeking a morale boost - and, perhaps, a victory.
It took them 37 seconds to lock both of those down, with an Own Goal from the Breakers, giving the Thorns all the cushion they would need en route a 2-0 win.
Amandine Henry would score for the Thorns four minutes later, cementing the Thorns' first victory in their last three matches, as they dominated - from literally the opening minute - the Boston Breakers, providing a bit of payback after the teams had a 2-2 draw last Friday in Boston. Henry's goal, her first in a Thorns uniform, came off a beautiful left-footed shot that just snuck past Breakers' goalkeeper Abby Smith into the left corner of the goal, igniting a raucous and semi-unfathomable reaction from the nearly 19,000 fans in attendance.
"I think we've continued to get better each week," head coach Mark Parsons said after the game. "The results haven't always shown, but performance-wise, we've been really happy. We talked about attacking with purpose, and defending with urgency, and you saw that in the first ten minutes when we could have had three or four goals."
The Thorns were the aggressor early and often, finishing with 17 shots on goal - nearly three times that of the Breakers - and no player better exemplified that than Henry.
"Amandine is a player of the highest level," said Parsons. "Unfortunately, because of our position, sometimes it's hard to see the class and the quality that she has. She does a lot of important things for our team. I think (her goal) will give her the confidence to keep shooting."
"I feel very good," said Henry, unable to control her smile. "I'm very happy, and tonight, the most important thing is the three points we won. I'm so happy for my first goal here. I'm not used to shooting a lot, but when I shoot, I want to score."
For Portland (3-1-3 on the season), Saturday's win broke a two-game draw streak and could be the jump start they have been looking for as the season begins to ramp up.
"Boston is a really good team, and I thought the game (back in Boston last Friday) was one of the hardest," said Parsons."But it's lovely being back home, in this place. They love to play the game, and they know they needed to represent the community here, tonight, and go out and show what it's all about when we get the chance to play at home."
The Thorns play at Sky Blue FC next Saturday, before the return game of the home-and-home on Saturday, June 17th.