Thorns win at Orlando
A dominant second half carried the Portland Thorns to a meaningful 2-0 win on Saturday at Orlando.
Lindsey Horan and Hayley Raso scored five minutes apart shortly after halftime and Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made a series of big saves as the Thorns moved into third place in the National Women's Soccer League.
Portland (9-6-5, 32 points) jumped ahead of fourth-place Orlando (8-7-6, 30) points. The Thorns play three of their four remaining matches at home, beginning with a key match next Saturday against Chicago.
Portland trails second-place Seattle by four points after the Reign won Saturday at Utah. North Carolina has clinched first place.
Horan scored her NWSL-leading 11th goal of the season in the 47th minute. Tobin Heath sent a ball into the box from the left wing that flashed past Ana Crnogorcevic as Horan beat defender Alanna Kennedy to the goal-line for a tap-in finish.
Five minutes later Raso, who had two shots hit the post in the first half, sprinted past Kennedy and hit a low 17-yard shot past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Crnogorcevic headed the ball to Raso, who spit to defenders and was too fast for Kennedy.
Raso had the two first-half chances for Portland. She hit the post from an angle after an Orlando giveaway in the 17th minute and her chipped cross from the right wing caught the crossbar in the 36th minute.
Franch was credited with six saves in the shutout win, several of them on dangerous balls. Perhaps her biggest stop came in the 63rd minute when a ball into the box deflected off of Orlando's Emily Van Egmond. Franch dove down to her left to keep the ball out.
Orlando dominated early and earned five corner kicks in the first 10 minutes as the Pride's pressure in the offensive half kept the Thorns pinned deep.
Portland gained its footing gradually as the first half unfolded and would up with 57 percent of the ball over the first 45 minutes.
France made four first-half saves, clearing danger with a couple of timely punches.
Portland finished the game with 60 percent possession, was called for one second-half foul and earned eight corner kicks.
Caitlin Foord made her second appearance of the season, replacing Crnogorcevic in the 55th minute.