The script was familiar Thursday as the Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars battled to a National Women’s Soccer League draw for the third time in 14 days.
And just like games on July 4 in Portland and on July 9 in Lisle, Ill., the Thorns carried a lead into the second half and the Red Stars responded.
Thursday’s 1-1 draw in the final regular-season match did little to help either club in the scramble for a spot in the playoffs. With seven wins, six losses and five draws, Portland and Chicago are tied for the four playoff spot, one point behind third-place Washington.
The Thorns scored in the opening minute, when Jessica McDonald made a far-post run to finish a Stephanie Catley cross. It was the quickest goal in the short history of the NWSL.
The Red Stars goal came in the 77th minute during some sustained Chicago pressure. A ball played across the 6-yard box from the right side of the penalty area rolled past several players to the feet of Lori Chalupny for a tap-in finish.
Both teams had chances to break the 1-1 deadlock. The best of those came two minutes into stoppage time when Christen Press had a shot go wide with only Thorns goalkeeper Nadine Angerer between her and the goal.
For the Thorns, Alex Morgan sent a volley over the bar off a well-placed ball from Christine Sinclair late in regulation time. Morgan came on in the 66th minute and forced Katrina LeBlanc to make one save.
Portland controlled play for much of the first half, but Chicago pushed the game in the second half and had more of the ball forcing the Thorns to rely on the counter-attack to generate offense.
The Thorns return home to face last-place Boston at 2 p.m. Sunday that will be televised on ESPN2.