Thorns FC Plays Last Home Game to Sold Out Crowd
By Shaley Howard The Portland Thorns FC had their final home game of the season Sunday against the Washington Spirit FC with yet another record-breaking sellout crowd of 21,114. The Thorns FC have continually led the way in National Womenâ€™s Soccer League attendance, averaging 15,639 each home game. Although eliminated from a playoff bid last week, the Thorns clearly came ready to play their hearts out with a nail-biting game ending in a 3-3 draw. The energy from the crowd was palpable as the Thorns took the field to a raucous standing ovation and a roar that rippled through the crowd filled with Rosie-the-Riveters, parents with starry-eyed girls and, of course, lots of lezzies. The Thorns controlled what seemed like the majority of the match yet were down 2-0 at half. But then they rallied and in the 53rd minute forward Alex Morgan scored right over Washington Spirits hot goalkeeper Ashlyn Harrisâ€™ head, giving the Thorns their first goal. Our second goal came from a penalty kick when Washington defender Estelle Johnson seemingly tackled midfielder Tobin Heath in the box. While Harris dove right, Heath nailed the shot in the left post, evening up the score 2-2 at the 71st minute. Portland scored again in the 80th minute when Morgan headed the ball to forward Jodie Taylor, who scored her second personal goal of the season and Portlandâ€™s third goal, giving the Thorns a 3-2 lead.Â The crowd was roaring with what seemed to be record-breaking and ear-shattering cheers, but before there was time to sit down and recover, the Spirit responded with their third and final goal of the match, from Washington forward Crystal Dunn. The final was 3-3, with the Thorns ending their final regular home game schedule 5-2-3. Sundayâ€™s match was also the last for goalie Nadine Angerer and defender Rachel Van Hollebekeâ€”both recently announced they are retiring. Another standing ovation was given to both before the game, as they addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support over the years. Speaking after the game to reporters, Van Hollebeke said: â€œIâ€™ve been a little bit of an emotional roller coaster since announcing Iâ€™m retiring. Iâ€™m going to miss it a lot and I love this game and I will always love it. Iâ€™ve had so many special memories and amazing friendships and obviously playing in front of this crowd and being part of this whole experience is very special. I feel very fortunate.â€ The Thorns have their final season game against the Western New York Flash this Friday, September 4 at Sahlenâ€™s Stadium. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. PST. And if the end of the Thorns soccer season makes you want to cry, youâ€™ll at least be happy to hear that Portlandâ€™s Providence Park was chosen to host the NWSL championship. The match will take place Thursday, October 1 with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Get your tickets at www.timbers.com/thornsfc and weâ€™ll see you on the pitch.