Portland Thorns clinch NWSL Fall Series Community Shield with victory over OL Reign

    The Portland Thorns ended their NWSL Fall Series campaign on a high note, notching three valuable points in a 2-1 win over OL Reign at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday night. With the win, Portland secured its spot as the only undefeated team in the Fall Series and jumped the Houston Dash in the standings to clinch the Verizon Community Shield. The prize comes with a $25,000 grant which will go to a their local business partner, Mimi’s Fresh Tees. 

    Thorns veteran and Canadian international Christine Sinclair converted a pair of penalty kicks on the evening for the victory. The Reign’s lone goal came from defender Amber Brooks — who deflected a shot in on goal after a strong attempt from Shirley Cruz. 

    Portland finished the Fall Series with 10 points on three wins (all at home) and 1 draw. OL Reign, meanwhile, will close out their Fall Series next week against Utah Royals FC.  

    Here’s what to know and see from Saturday’s action:

    Top plays

    Britt Eckerstrom’s early save: Britt Eckerstrom kept things scoreless in the 27th minute with this heads up play against an attacking Reign.

    Amber Brooks’ deflection goal: The home side was down a goal, but Brooks was able to redirect a strong shot from Shirley Cruz into the back of the net.

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    Christine Sinclair puts Portland ahead: The visitors were awarded a second penalty kick in the second half after some contact in the box. The team captain stepped up and converted her second PK of the night.

    Notable performances

    Let’s rate some of the notable performances on the day, with one being the worst and 10 being perfection:

    Rocky Rodriguez, Portland Thorns FC: The Costa Rican international was largely tasked with helping disrupt movement in the midfield during a physical game. She ends her 2020 fully integrated into a Thorns midfield looking to build into a new era. RATING: 8

    Britt Eckerstrom, Portland Thorns FC: Eckerstrom played all Fall Series matches due to injuries to two other keepers. She kept things level early in the game and down the stretch. The Thorns keeper core is stacked next season. RATING: 8.5

    Sofia Huerta, OL Reign: The first-year Reign forward worked her way back from injury in the summer’s Challenge Cup and consistently played in Fall Series. She created the most chances for her team during the first half. RATING: 7

    A lookahead

    The Fall Series will wrap up next weekend, with two final matches for the south and west pods. North Carolina Courage have a chance to play for third place in the standings in the Verzion Community Shield race. 

    • Orlando Pride v North Carolina Courage, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET (CBS): The Pride are searching for their first win of 2020, and the Courage will play for a top-three finish.
    • OL Reign v Utah Royals FC, Saturday at 8 p.m ET (CBS All Access): These two teams played to a wild 2-2 draw in their first meeting; will there be a winner in the final match?

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