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News / Sports / Soccer

Thorns beat Sky Blue to claim NWSL Shield

By Columbian news services
Published: September 25, 2016, 8:39pm

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Portland Thorns captured their first National Women’s Soccer League Shield, defeating Sky Blue 3-1 in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Midfielder Allie Long scored two goals, and midfielder Lindsey Horan had a goal and Tobin Heath had an NWSL-record 10th assist of the season at Yurcak Field.

Portland (12-3-5) will host to Western New York (9-6-5) in the NWSL semifinals at 2 p.m. next Sunday at Providence Park. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.

Portland ended the season on a four-game winning streak and posted a 4-2-4 record on the road, which was the best away record in the NWSL this season. Additionally, Portland set a club record for the most wins (12) and points (41) in a single campaign.

After falling behind 1-0, Thorns FC leveled the score just before halftime. From a free-kick from about 35-yards out, Heath sent her delivery into the 18-yard box that picked out Long, who headed past Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Casey in the 41st minute.

The Thorns doubled their lead in the 57th minute when forward Nadia Nadim’s cross from the left flank picked out Horan, whose diving header from the top of the six-yard box was powered into the back of the net.

Portland upped their lead to 3-1 in the 84th minute when second-half substitute Hayley Raso whipped in a cross from the left wing that found the feet of Long. Shielding the ball from her defender inside the six-yard box, Long turned and rifled her shot past the diving Sky Blue goalkeeper for her sixth goal of the season.

Sky Blue (7-8-5) benefitted from a goal early when midfielder Kelly O’Hara’s cross from a corner kick was headed in at the near post by forward Tasha Kai in the sixth minute.