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FC Kansas City mimics Sporting KC, defeat Portland 1-0

A first half goal from Lauren Holiday and stellar defense down the middle gave the Blues their sixth straight win.

Thad Bell

A wide open game that featured many chances surprisingly finished with a low score as FC Kansas City defeated the Portland Thorns 1-0.

Nicole Barnhart recorded her fifth straight shutout and moved to 496 straight scoreless minutes.

Portland controlled the match early, earning several chances in the first fifteen minutes or so. The best chance came in the first ten minutes when Alex Morgan was alone in the box behind the Blue's defense on the receiving end of a cross, but her header went over the bar. Had it been on frame, it surely would have gone in.

A couple of minutes later, Jessica McDonald headed a ball toward goal but it was too hard and bounced over the bar to keep the game scoreless.

FC Kansas City started to gain momentum towards the midway point of the first half, gathering a couple of chances but not really any close. The important part was that they were turning the game into an open contest and putting the ball back into Portland's defensive half.

After both teams threatened a couple more times, FC Kansas City finally broke the scoreless drought in the 41st minute. Lauren Holiday found some space in the box, but her shot was deflected off of Amy Rodriguez. The deflection took a fortunate bounce for FC Kansas City past goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and into the net for the goal. It was Holiday's sixth goal of the year as the Blues led 1-0.

The Blues almost put in a second in the 60th minute when the ball got pinged around the box. It landed at the feet of Lauren Holiday, who tapped it into the open net but was whistled offside. In the 69th minute, the Blues caught a break when Gorry dispossessed the Thorns in the middle of the pitch and passed it to a streaking Rodriguez down the wing. The Blues had a 2-on-2 break but Rodriguez could not find Gorry on the cross, sending it harmlessly across the face of goal.

Portland was extremely close to score in the 73rd minute when a corner kick found the head of Jessica McDonald. McDonald headed it down from about five feet away from goal, but it still bounced over the goal to keep the Thorns scoreless. It was nearly identical to McDonald's miss earlier in the first half.

The Thorns continue to press forward and almost got another in the 84th minute when Allie Long teed up a shot from distance. It went over the head of Barnhart but banged off the bar and out of danger. This would be the last good chance for Portland as FC Kansas City held on for the 1-0.

It was the sixth straight win and eighth straight result for the Blues as they put even more distance between themselves and the other teams below second place. The are still five points behind the undefeated Seattle Reign in first, but Seattle does have two games in hand.