The Washington Spirit played well early on in front of their debutant goalkeeper, but Portland's Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan were ultimately too much for them to handle in the Thorns' 2-0 win.
Today's match marked the first NWSL appearance for Washington's goalkeeper Chantel Jones, who replaced an Ashlyn Harris in the Spirit's starting lineup. She performed exceptionally well early on, and was tested five minutes into the match by shots from Sinclair and Becky Edwards. Her defense looked good early in the game as well, cutting off attacking runs by Morgan.
The opening half saw both teams create multiple scoring opportunities. The Spirit threatened to open the scoring in the 31st minute on the back of a shot by Ali Krieger that was deflected over the bar by Karina LeBlanc. Portland routinely tried to attacks through Sinclair that were shut down until the 40th minute, when the Canadian international's persistence paid off. Sinclair found space on the edge of the 18 to strike the ball past Jones as Domenica Hodak failed to close her down.
The Washington back line was tested repeatedly in the second half as Portland controlled possession and gradually increased their presence in the Spirit half. They also regularly targeted Morgan and Sinclair with crosses. In the 62nd minute, Morgan attempted to extend Portland's one-goal lead as she encountered a one-on-one situation with Jones, but the Washington keeper made a sliding save.
Washington started to gain more of the ball in the 65th minute, as Caroline Miller came on as a substitute and made an immediate impact. Miller forced her way into the box on several occasions and did well to pressure Portland in their own half.
Tori Huster and Robyn Gayle had solid performances for the Spirit defense considering that they managed to dispossess much of Portland's offensive plays throughout the match. The pressure to find the equalizer and dissuade Portland from extending the lead proved to be a challenge for Gayle, who earned a yellow card for pushing Morgan to the ground outside the 18 yard box in the 81st minute.
Five minutes later, Morgan extended the Portland lead, recreating an earlier pursuit into the box for a one-on-one against Jones. Unfortunately, Jones could not repeat her save from the 62nd minute resulting in Morgan finding the back of the net.