13 July 2020

OL Reign in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Portland Thorns in the NWSL Challenge Cup

OL Reign and Portland Thorns produced a frustrating goalless draw in their last match of the preliminary round in the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup.

The draw means Thorns are the only team not to get a win and sees them face top of the table North Carolina Courage in the quarter-finals.

And while the table may look as though Thorns haven’t impressed, the skills on the pitch suggest otherwise.

They dominated the first half but just couldn’t convert their good pressure into goals.  

Their best chance of the half came in the 40th minute as captain Christine Sinclair passed the ball in the box to Celeste Boureille but her touch sent it over the bar.

Reign's defensive effort, especially through Allie Long, was impressive in the first half as they were able to keep out multiple efforts on goal.

The last five minutes of the first half were all Reign's as they began to look more dangerous in attack. In her first game of the tournament Sofia Huerta looked threatening every time she got the ball in the box.

She was responsible for one of Reign's two shots on target in the first half as she fired from just outside the box but keeper Bella Bixby collected well.

As the teams ran out for the second half, the hunger for a goal became even more desperate.

Both sides were getting shots away and created chances but they just couldn’t find a finish.

Reign’s best chance of the half came in the 60th minute as Taylor Smith went just wide, while Thorns’ best effort came in the 69th as Rocky Rodriguez was on target.

Michelle Betos made a great save but the rebound fell to Morgan Weaver, but again no end result. And so it ended 0-0.

The quarter-final fixtures, other than Thorns v Courage, will not be confirmed until Sky Blue FC plays Courage later this evening.

Yesterday saw Chicago Red Stars beat Utah Royals 1-0 thanks to a late Casey Short goal.

And Washington Spirit were beat Houston Dash 1-0 win thanks to a Bayley Feist goal.

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