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Portland Thorns blank KC NWSL 1-0

Abby Smith made big saves and stopped a penalty but an awkward bounce led to the loan goal

Abby Smith kept KC NWSL in the game
Thad Bell

The Portland Thorns defeated Kansas City NWSL 1-0 Sunday afternoon. The Thorns dominated the first half of play, creating numerous chances while KC NWSL struggled to generate much attack. The second half saw the balance shift to the visitors but KC could not break through the Thorns defense.

One of the best opportunities for Portland came early in the first half when Elizabeth Ball was called for a handball in the box. Legendary attacker Christine Sinclair stepped up for Portland to take the shot from the spot. Sinclair went low to the left but Kansas City keeper Abby Smith dove and deflected the shot away to keep a clean sheet.

Smith made several saves through the first half and her defense blocked some more but a bad bounce was their downfall in stoppage time of the first half. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Simone Charley had an easy goal after Crystal Dunn pass bounced awkwardly past Smith. Charley tapped the ball in and Portland took a 1-0 lead into the half.

Kansas City manager Huw Williams was juggling minutes for players coming back from injury and international duty so he started swapping out players at half. The fresh legs and attacking mentality of players like Victoria Pickett, Jessica Silva and Chloe Logarzo helped turn the tide of possession and Kansas City started to create offense.

The Thorns held resolute in their defense and Kansas City would continue their scoreless losing streak to four straight games.

Kansas City returns home for matches on the 23rd and 26th versus the Orlando Pride and Washington Spirit respectively. Both games will be challenges with short rest against top teams.