Final Score: Portland Thorns 1, Gotham FC 0
The Portland Thorns clinched a playoff spot with their win over Gotham FC.
Gotham FC is now out of the shield hunt but very much still in the playoff hunt, Scenarios will be clearer after the Houston/Angel City match later today.
The number 2 and 3 seeded teams entered this match knowing that the shield was still in balance and a loss meant playing for their playoff lives on NWSL's version of MLS's decision day. A very subdued Gotham in the first half where they sat back and took what Portland gave them. Rarely did Portland have to break shape or tactics and were allowed to flow freely with the ball.
Portland finished the half with better chances and winning more individual battles.
The Thorns finally broke through in the 53rd minute. Sugita finds a beautifully weighted cross from Coffey at the far post and heads it home for the 1-0 lead.
Gotham started to press in the 65th minute and created two clear chances form it. They continued to press for an equalizer goal, but it never came. The Thorns held on for a comfortable 1-0 victory over the visitors. In the end a pretty even match that was decided by a couple big saves from both keepers and a single big chance converted.
Shots on Target: Portland Thorns 3, Gotham FC 3
Saves: Portland Thorns 3, Gotham FC 2
Big Chances Created: Portland Thorns 1, Gotham FC 0
Big Chances Missed: Portland Thorns 0, Gotham FC 0
Duels won: Portland Thorns 54, Gotham FC 40
Corners: Portland Thorns 6, Gotham FC 9
Possession: Portland Thorns 44%, Gotham FC 56%
Player of the Match:
Delanie Sheehan was ultra involved in this one against a formidable Portland midfield. 87 minutes, 63 touches, 81% percent accurate passes, 2 chances created, 4/5 successful dribbles on the offensive side and put in a defensive shift as well. 5 recoveries, 2/3 tackles won 8 duels.
Gotham leads the league in yellow cards for a reason. Not because they are dirty players but because they are aggressive. They will battle you for every ball and fight to the last second. It's part of the New Jersey, New York mentality. A game with these high stakes to walk away without a cards seems not good enough from this brand of soccer. The fight just wasn't quite there.
Ali Krieger's last regular season home match. Against the KC Current who were the first team eliminated from the playoffs yet, have enough talent to be a top 3 team. They just put up 6 goals against fellow bottom of the table club Chicago Red Stars. Eliminating them from the playoffs. Should be a fun one. Bring everybody! Pack RBA! Let's Go!