After trading goals in the closing minutes of the first half, the Washington Spirit (1-2-1, 4 pts) and Portland Thorns FC (2-1-1, 7 pts) played a scoreless second half and finished level, 1-1, on Friday night with 14,485 fans on hand at Providence Park.
Washington nearly struck first in the 26th minute, when a shot taken by Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega from near the left post was deflected by Thorns goalkeeper, and Germantown native, Britt Eckerstrom toward the center of the goal, but was ultimately cleared away after going halfway over the line.
The Spirit were able to take a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute on a point blank strike from Ordega, who tapped in a loose ball off a corner kick. The corner was sent in by Tori Huster, and took multiple bounces off players in the box – including a mishandle by Eckerstrom – before Ordega finished the play off with a left-footed shot directly in front of the net.
Portland drew even just before halftime, when Ifeoma Onumonu drew a penalty call after being tripped by Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco while sprinting through the box. Canadian international Christine Sinclair converted the penalty kick in the second minute of stoppage time, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Both defenses clamped down throughout the second half, limiting each other’s scoring opportunities. In the 87th minute, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe came through with a diving save to stop a potential game-winner on a penalty kick taken by U.S. international midfielder Lindsey Horan.
Bledsoe had conceded the penalty kick moments earlier when she fouled U.S. international defender Emily Sonnett in the box, but came through with her fifth and final save of the night to secure the draw for Washington.
Washington racked up 15 shots on the evening, including seven on target, while limiting Portland to 12 total shots, with six going on frame. Ordega led all players with six shots, four on target, while finding the net for a second straight game.
The Spirit returns home next Saturday, April 28 to host the USWNT star Julie Ertz and the Chicago Red Stars at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm. Tickets are still available.
Top: Washington Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco (3) is chased by Portland's Ana-Maria Crnogorčević (7) during Friday's 1-1 draw. Photo courtesy Washington Spirit.
Video: Highlights from the game from NWLS.
Video: Spirit goaltender Aubrey Bledsoe on a penalty shot stop during Friday night’s game.