Hayley Raso was at the double to help Portland Thorns defeat Houston Dash 5-0 on Thursday, cementing the Oregon-based club’s lead atop the National Women’s Soccer League.
The Australian attacker scored twice in a devastating opening 23-minute spell from the leaders, who piled in four goals against a crumbling Houston defence missing Clare Polkinghorne.
Feature image courtesy of Portland Thorns on Twitter
Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair were the other scorers for Portland as Dash lost Kyah Simon and Christine Nairn to first-half injuries, while a 71st minute own goal from Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell – unable to parry a Tyler Lussi effort to safety - completed a five-star performance for Mark Parsons’ side.
Raso's Thorns teammate Caitlin Foord saw action for the final half hour of play, although Ellie Carpenter was not involved as Portland stretched their advantage over second-place North Carolina Courage to four points.
Hours before Portland’s rout at Providence Park, Washington Spirit moved into third place with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sky Blue.
Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison started in left wing and left full back roles respectively, with Elise Kellond-Knight replacing Logarzo in the 66th minute.
Washington’s Ashley Hatch scored the only goal of a sell-out encounter at Yurcak Field.