FC Kansas City's rally falls short as Portland escapes with a 4-3 win

Thad Bell

Alex Morgan and Lauren Cheney both scored braces as the Portland Thorns outscored the Blues in a 4-3 shootout.

FC Kansas City never said die but Portland was able to put the final nail in the coffin as the Thorns outscored the Blues 4-3.

The Blues' defense looked disorganized at the start of the match and the Thorns made them play. After Becky Sauerbrunn slipped in the box Alex Morgan took advantage of the space and buried it at the top of the net to put the Thorns up early 1-0. It was Morgan's fifth goal of the season, coming in the 13th minute.

It didn't stop there. Blown coverage on the near side allowed Marain Dougherty to have a clear path to send the ball into the box where a waiting Courtney Wetzel finished the shot past the near post for the score to put the Thorns up 2-0 in the 19th minute.

FC Kansas City got a chance to pull one back later in the first half. Renae Cuellar was tackled from behind inside the box, earning a penalty kick. After Cuellar limped off the field, Lauren Cheney took the penalty kick and buried it to pull one back for the Blues in the 34th minute. It was Cheney's third goal of the season.

Renae Cuellar would not return for the rest of the match, taking out the Blues' leading goal-scorer in a match where they needed offense. However the penalty kick gave FC Kansas City some momentum as they went into the half trailing 2-1.

That momentum didn't last for long. The second half started of well for the Thorns as Alex Morgan found second half sub Danielle Foxhoven who finished the ball with class to give the Thorns some breathing room as they went up 3-1 in the 48th minute.

The Blues would strike right back, however. Lauren Cheney scored her second goal of the night following a cross from Robinson to pull another one back for the Blues. It was Cheney's fourth of the season and it gave the Blues some momentum from the 56th minute on.

But Portland was having none of it. In the 65th minute a poor clearance in the Blues' box allowed Alex Morgan to find the ball and bury it once more past Barnhart. It was Alex Morgan's second of the night and sixth of the year as the Thorns took a 4-2 lead.

FC Kansas City was not done though. Erika Tymrack received the ball after a clearance and cut across the top of the 18 yard box then shot it past a diving LeBlanc near post to pull one back for the Blues again. It was Tymrack's first goal of the year and the Blues were within one with 10 minutes to go.

FC Kansas City would have numerous chances late including a great ball into the box that was just out of the reach of the Blues' forwards in stoppage time. Unfortunately the Blues were not able to put anything else past LeBlanc and the Thorns escaped the shootout with a 4-3 victory.

The Thorns kept pace with Sky Blue FC with this victory as they remained tied for first place at 22 points each. The Blues stayed in fifth place in the league but that may change after the weekend matches. Speaking of which, Portland has the weekend off while FC Kansas City will stay in Cascadia to play Seattle Reign FC Sunday night.

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