Christine Sinclair’s two open field goals and one from the penalty spot deep into first-half stoppage time, was enough to defeat OL Reign on the road Wednesday, 4-1. Bethany Balcer scored for the second straight match in the NWSL Fall Series.
“This evening was a difficult game for us after we conceded two goals,” OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti said. “Before, we were able to have some opportunities, but sometimes also Portland (did). I think we made some mistakes and Portland took those opportunities to score. We wanted to come back, but today it was too hard for us because, physically, we were a little down today. Not an easy game today.”
Sinclair recorded her first goal in the 40th minute. After the Thorns drew a free kick along the far touch line, a quick restart sprung Lindsey Horan up the left side, who laid the ball off for a powerful Sinclair finish to the right side of the net.
The lead doubled shortly before the whistle for halftime. Five minutes into first-half stoppage time, OL Reign’s Taylor Smith fouled Simone Charley at the right edge of the penalty area, causing referee Farhad Dadhko to point to the spot. Sinclair changed her pace during her run-up, freezing keeper Michelle Betos before striking a low ball to the right side to make it 2-0.
The Thorns added to their advantage in the 57th minute. Simone Charley looped a cross into the penalty area, where Rocky Rodríguez struck a volley to the upper left corner to make it 3-0.
Balcer pulled a goal back for OL Reign in the 70th minute, rising to meet a cross from Shirley Cruz in the right alley. Balcer nodded the ball in at the back post, scoring her third goal of 2020 and second of the Fall Series.
Sinclair responded four minutes later, taking a ball through the back line from Horan. Sinclair finished low and to the right past Betos to complete the hat trick.
Balcer was named as OL Reign’s Budweiser Player of the Match. The forward took three shots—all on-target—to score her goal, and took 34 touches in 82 minutes on the pitch.
OL Reign returns home to face Portland on Saturday, October 10 at 5:00 p.m. PT.
Match: OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: September 30, 2020
Venue: Providence Park, Portland, Ore.
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. PT
Weather: 75 degrees, mostly sunny
Goals by half 1 2 Total
RGN 0 1 1
POR 2 2 4
POR – Christine Sinclair (Lindsay Horan) 40’
POR – Christine Sinclair (penalty) 45+5’
POR – Rocky Rodríguez (Simone Charley) 57’
RGN – Bethany Balcer (Shirley Cruz) 70’
POR – Christine Sinclair (Lindsey Horan) 74’
POR – Meghan Klingenberg (caution) 35’
Lineups & Stats
RGN: GK Michelle Betos, D Steph Cox, D Kristen McNabb, D Amber Brooks, D Taylor Smith (Madison Hammond 82’), M Allie Long (Dani Weatherholt 64’), M Rosie White (Leah Pruitt 64’), M Shirley Cruz, F Bethany Balcer (Morgan Andrews 82’), F Sofia Huerta, F Jasmyne Spencer (Miranda Nild 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Casey Murphy, D Kimberly Hazlett
Head Coach: Farid Benstiti
Shots on goal: 8
Corner kicks: 5
POR: GK Britt Eckerstrom, D Christen Westphal (Madison Pogarch 53’), D Emily Menges, D Becky Sauerbrunn (Kelli Hubly 46’), D Meghan Klingenberg, M Angela Salem (Emily Ogle 84’), M Rocky Rodríguez, M Lindsey Horan, M Christine Sinclair, F Tyler Lussi (Sophia Smith 53’), F Simone Charley (Morgan Weaver 66’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Nadine Angerer, M Gabby Seiler
Head Coach: Mark Parsons
Shots on goal: 8
Corner kicks: 11