Thorns fall 2-0 to Chicago

PORTLAND, Ore. Midfielders Zakiya Bywaters and Jackie Santacaterina scored on either side of halftime as the Chicago Red Stars defeated Portland Thorns FC 2-0 before 12,446 fans at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.

The loss was the second in nine games for Portland (6-2-1, 19pts) during the inaugural National Women's Soccer League season and marked the only time this year Thorns FC have conceded more than one goal in a game. The win for Chicago marked its first victory of the season.

Playing without starters Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler, Christine Sinclair and Karina LeBlanc, who are away on international duty with the United States and Canadian national teams, respectively, Portland still managed four shots on goal, compared to just two for Chicago (1-4-2, 5pts).

Despite a pair of close chances in the first 30 minutes that saw Red Stars goalkeeper Taylor Vancil stop shots from Thorns FC midfielder Angie Kerr and forward Meleana Shim, Chicago gained the lead off a set piece.

The Red Stars tallied the first goal of the match in the 35th minute. Defender Lydia Vandenbergh delivered a corner kick into the box that reached the head of defender Michelle Wenino near the far post. Wenino nodded the ball back across the goal box to Bywaters, who headed in for a 1-0 lead.

Shim and forward Danielle Foxhoven each recorded two shots for Thorns FC in the physical match which featured a combined 26 fouls and three yellow cards.

Thorns FC defender Marian Dougherty saw an attempt at the game-tying goal blocked inside the penalty box in the 56th minute. Chicago midfielder Lori Chalupny was issued a yellow card following a hard tackle on midfielder Becky Edwards, setting up a free kick for Portland 11 minutes into the second half.

Kerr sent the long free kick into the penalty box and Vancil collided with a group of players while punching the ball away. The loose ball fell to Dougherty, whose shot from near the penalty spot was blocked on the ground and cleared from danger.

Chicago responded minutes later with its second goal of the match in the 61st minute. Vandenbergh delivered a cross from the left corner of the penalty box that connected with Santacaterina at the far post. With a defender on her back, Santacaterina was able to steer the shot on goal past the outstretched arms of Thorns FC goalkeeper Cris Lewis.

Pressing for a goal, Thorns FC defender Jazmyne Avant saw a glancing shot off a corner kick blocked by a group of Chicago defenders at the near post while Foxhoven sent a left-footed shot wide in the 71st minute on a counterattack sparked by substitute forward Jessica Shufelt.

Substitute midfielder Nikki Washington linked up with midfielder Allie Long on a passing combination at the top of the box in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Long played a through ball into the box that Washington turned on frame, but Vancil was positioned to make the save.

Vancil made four saves for the Red Stars, who were missing starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod, defenders Carmelina Moscato and Rachel Quon all due to national team duty with Canada.