Thorns FC Earn 2-1 Win over KC NWSL at Providence Park in Opening Match of 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup
PORTLAND, Ore. - Playing their first match in front of fans since 2019, Portland Thorns FC scored goals in both halves, earning a 2-1 win against KC NWSL in their opening match of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup at Providence Park on Friday night. Rocky RodrÃguez scored the first goal of the 2021 campaign, while Tyler Lussi tallied the game-winning goal in the 58th minute.
Return of Fans
The match against Kanas City was the first live professional sporting event in Oregon with fans since March 10, 2020, when the Portland Trail Blazers squared off against the Phoenix Suns. The last match at Providence Park with fans was when the Timbers played host to Nashville SC on March 8, 2020. For Thorns FC it was their first contest with fans in 545 days since taking on the Washington Spirit on Oct. 29, 2019.
Home Sweet Home
Dating back to 2019, Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last five matches (4-0-1) at Providence Park, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 10-2 during that span. Notably, Thorns FC have lost just once in its last 11 matches at home.
RodrÃguez Stat File
RodrÃguez tallied the first goal of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup in the eighth minute of the match. The goal was the earliest goal scored in Portland's first game of a year, besting Sinead Farrelly who scored 21 minutes into the 2015 season. It was her second goal for Thorns FC across all competitions. Both of her goals have come at Providence Park as she concluded the 2020 Fall Series with a goal against OL Reign on Sept. 30, 2020.
POR - Rocky RodrÃguez (Meghan Klingenberg), 8th minute: Klingenberg's floated free-kick delivery from 25 yards away found RodrÃguez running into the box and her header was redirected past the outstretched arms of the Kansas City goalkeeper Abby Smith.
POR - Tyler Lussi (Christen Westphal), 58th minute: Near the right touchline, Westphal's lofted a cross into the center of the box and Lussi beat two defenders in the air, sending a powerful header into the back of the net
POR - Amy Rodriguez (Victoria Pickett), 60th minute: Brittany Ratcliffe kept the ball in play, crossing it into the box to Victoria Pickett, who sent a one-timed pass was redirected into the goal by Amy Rodriguez.
Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last five matches (4-0-1) dating back to Sept. 20, 2020.
Portland has lost just once in their last 12 matches at Providence Park.
Natalia Kuikka made her Thorns FC and NWSL debut in the match, starting and logging 90 minutes.
Tyler Lussi tallied her fifth career goal in 43 appearances (14 starts) across all competitions for Thorns FC.
Lussi delivered the fifth goal of her Thorns FC career, scoring the game-winning goal.
All five of Lussi's goals have come in wins with three of those being game-winners.
Rocky RodrÃguez registered her second career goal in 11 games played (10 starts) across all competitions for Portland. She has now scored in consecutive home matches for Portland, notching a goal against OL Reign in the NWSL Fall Series on Sept. 30, 2020.
Kelli Hubly ended the match with a game-high 10 clearances.
Madison Pogarch finished the match with a team-high seven tackles and a game-high six interceptions. The seven tackles are tied for the most by a Thorns player in the last three years.
Christine Sinclair, Crystal Dunn, Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan were all unavailable for selection to do international duty.
Thorns FC travel to face the Chicago Red Stars on Thursday, April 15, at SeatGeek Stadium; kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live stream available on Paramount+.
Portland Thorns FC vs. KC NWSL - 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup
April 9, 2021 - Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 2
KC NWSL 0 1 1
POR: RodrÃguez (Klingenberg), 8
POR: Lussi (Westphal), 58
KC: Rodriguez (Pickett), 60
KC: Pickett (caution), 48
POR: Charley (caution), 49
KC: Rodriguez (caution), 70
POR: Charley (caution, ejection), 89
POR: Parsons (ejection), 90+1
KC: Del Fava (caution), 90+1
POR: Weaver (ejection), 90+2
KC: Edmonds (ejection), 90+3
POR: GK Franch, D Westphal, D Kuikka, D Hubly, D Pogarch, M R. RodrÃguez, M Boureille, M Klingenberg © (Salem, 73), M Everett (Weaver, 67), F Charley, F Lussi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, GK Angerer, D Menges, D Nalley, M Hogan, M Fitzgerald, F Persaud,
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (RodrÃguez, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 15 (Charley, 5); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
KC: GK Smith, D Maemone, D Del Fava, D Corsie, D Edmonds, M Pickett, M Vincent, M Nolf, F Ratcliffe (Strom-Okimoto, 63), F Rodriguez, F Vasconcelos
Substitutes Not Used: GK Barnhart, D Bowen, M LaBonta, M McCain, M Nick
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Rodriguez, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Rodriguez, 2); FOULS: 12 (Vasconcelos, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referees: Deleana Quan, Kali Smith
4th Official: Adorae Monroy
Weather: Cloudy, 55 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
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