Portland Thorns 0, NJ/NY Gotham FC 0
The Skinny: The Thorns came out flying on Sunday afternoon in the first match back at Providence Park with the stands at full capacity. The first half was dominated by the home team, who had numerous dangerous chances on goal, while Gotham struggled to hang onto the ball long enough to relieve the pressure. Gotham keeper DiDi Haracic kept her side in the game, along with some help from her defenders, as the ball was saved off Gotham’s goal line not once but twice in the half. While Portland was the better side in the second half too, Gotham finally were able to settle in and have a few chances of their own. Shortly after making her NWSL debut, Gaëtane Thiney forced a diving save out of Thorns keeper Bella Bixby in the 73rd minute. And minutes later, Ifeoma Onumonu’s header hit the post for Gotham’s best chance of the match.
One Key Moment: Portland’s best chance of the game came in the 27th minute. Gotham couldn’t keep possession in the attack, and the ball fell to Portland’s Marissa Everett, who delivered a perfect pass through Gotham’s centre backs to Morgan Weaver, who held her run well. Weaver got in behind and went one-on-one with Haracic, but Haracic was able to get just enough on her shot to slow the ball as it headed for the goal line. And Estelle Johnson, arriving just in time, cleared the ball off the goal line to keep the clean sheet alive.
Inside the Game: After dominating the first 45 and much of the second, the Thorns will be disappointed to come away from this one with just one point. With 22 shots, six of them on goal, the chances were certainly there. With the draw, the Thorns are in a three-way tie for first place on points, along with the Courage and the Pride. As for Gotham, aside from a nervy mistake in the third minute, Haracic was more than up to the task on Sunday. Sitting in fifth place now, Gotham have conceded just three goals this season – an incredible feat for having played eight games so far. Johnson, who made one of the crucial goal line saves, had a fantastic match, and bypassed 10,000 total NWSL minutes played during the match.