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Pair of Penalties Sink OL Reign against Portland

October 10, 2020 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - OL Reign News Release

TACOMA, WASH. - OL Reign scored the only goal from open play on the evening, but was undone by a pair of penalties awarded to Portland Thorns FC in their penultimate NWSL Fall Series match. Portland's Christine Sinclair converted both spot kicks to help her side to victory.

"I think we started the game really determined. My players followed our plan to not drop but stay higher and put more pressure on the opponent's camp. We did it well. At the beginning, maybe we conceded too many opportunities or made mistakes in our (defensive) third, which is why Portland had opportunities to score. After that, though, the team stepped up. It was a strong climb for us and felt like we could score."

Sinclair notched her second penalty in as many matches against OL Reign in the 43rd minute. After Simone Charley tripped in the box and won the spot kick, Sinclair sent Casey Murphy the wrong way to give the visitors the lead.

OL Reign recaptured the momentum early in the second half. In the 46th minute, Shirley Cruz rocketed a shot into the penalty area from long range, where it was deflected by Amber Brooks, wrong-footing Portland keeper Britt Eckerstrom and pulling OL Reign level.

Portland was awarded another penalty in the 70th minute, when Lindsey Horan wound up on the ground after a ball soared into the penalty area, causing the referee to point to the spot. Sinclair again went left, beating Murphy to the post for the game-winning goal.

"I don't know about the penalties," Benstiti said. "I don't like to speak about them. I'd like to see the video so I can have an objective opinion about whether it was a penalty. We were very determined on the field in the second half and I was pretty sure that we could score again. The second penalty, I don't know what happened in the box, but again, I'll check that and speak with my players. This penalty was hard for us and it was very difficult to come back after that."

OL Reign midfielder Dani Weatherholt was named the club's Budweiser Player of the Match. Weatherholt spent the entire 90 minutes in the midfield and made six recoveries, three interceptions, three clearances and won one tackle.

OL Reign concludes the Fall Series at home on Saturday, October 17 when it faces Utah Royals FC.

Match Report

Match: OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns FC

Date: October 10, 2020

Venue: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Wash.

Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. PT

Weather: 58 degrees, partly cloudy

Goals by half     1    2     Total

RGN                 0 1 1

POR 1 1 2

Scoring Summary

POR - Christine Sinclair (penalty) 43'

RGN - Amber Brooks (Shirley Cruz) 46'

POR - Christine Sinclair (penalty) 73'

Misconduct Summary

RGN - Allie Long (caution) 40'

RGN - Farid Benstiti (caution) 72'

RGN - Dani Weatherholt (caution) 90+4'

Lineups & Stats

RGN: GK Casey Murphy, D Madison Hammond (Kimberly Hazlett 83'), D Kristen McNabb, D Amber Brooks, D Steph Cox, M Allie Long (Rosie White 89'), M Shirley Cruz (Morgan Andrews 89'), M Dani Weatherholt, F Jasmyne Spencer (Taylor Smith 67'), F Sofia Huerta, F Bethany Balcer (Leah Pruitt 83')

Substitutes Not Used: GK Carly Nelson, D Sam Hiatt

Head Coach: Farid Benstiti

Shots: 19

Shots on goal: 4

Fouls: 15

Corner kicks: 3

Saves: 8

POR: GK Britt Eckerstrom, D Christen Westphal (Kelli Hubly 86'), D Emily Menges, D Becky Sauerbrunn, D Meghan Klingenberg, M Angela Salem, M Rocky Rodriguez (Emily Ogle 90+2'), M Lindsey Horan, F Christine Sinclair, F Sophia Smith (Morgan Weaver 75'), F Simone Charley (Tyler Lussi 86')

Substitutes Not Used: GK Nadine Angerer, D Madison Pogarch, F Marissa Everett

Head Coach: Mark Parsons

Shots: 15

Shots on goal: 10

Fouls: 13

Corner kicks: 7

Saves: 3


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