NWSL wrap: Raso stars as Portland go five points clear

Portland Thorns’ trio of Westfield Matildas have recorded a huge victory in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Portland – who have Aussie stars Hayley Raso, Ellie Carpenter and Caitlin Foord in their ranks – put in a sensational performance to beat Sam Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars in this morning’s top of the table NWSL clash.

American midfielder Margaret Purce scored a double after Canadian captain Christine Sinclair broke the deadlock in the 12th minute as the Thorns silenced Golden Boot leader Kerr and raced five points clear atop the ladder - although second-place North Carolina Courage have two matches in hand.

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Sinclair capped some slick interplay on the edge of the box to opening the scoring, while Raso’s awareness and execution to keep a floating Tobin Heath cross in play saw Purce double the advantage on 24 minutes.

Raso was again involved in Portland’s third just after the interval after Sinclair fired against the crossbar following a barnstorming run from the Westfield Matilda, with Purce on hand to finish off the rebound.

The Brisbane Roar flyer was handed a standing ovation by the Providence Park faithful when she was replaced by Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic late on. Carpenter played 73 minutes and was subbed out for Katherine Reynolds, and Foord was an unused substitute.

Feature image courtesy of Portland Thorns on Twitter

Reign’s resistance broken by Courage

Steph Catley’s Reign FC missed a chance to jump into the NWSL top four when the Seattle side slipped to a 1-0 defeat against North Carolina Courage on Sunday.

Reign were locked at 0-0 entering the closing stages despite the defending shield holders and champions leading the shot count 26 to nine. 

With the visitors looking set for a share of the points at Sahlen’s Stadium, an 82nd-minute strike by Lynn Williams split the difference in Cary, North Carolina.

Reign remain in fifth place, a point behind Utah Royals.

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Spirt edge Pride to stay in contention

Amy Harrison came to help Washington Spirit clinch a 2-1 victory against Orlando Pride.

Crystal Thomas opened the scoring for the DC side at Audi Field after nine minutes but Brazil legend Martha equalised to level the scores at half-time.

Ashley Hatch, who featured for Melbourne City in the Westfield W-League 2017/18 season, grabbed the decisive goal on 59 minutes.

Westfield Matilda Harrison was introduced for Hatch on 87 minutes as Spirit held on to stay in the finals hunt, the victory keeping them in sixth place.