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SATURDAY NWSL RECAP/Lussi, Purce score as Portland wins 2-1 at Houston, moves into first place

Tyler LussiThey waited through a 90-minute weather delay and 70 minutes of game to find a goal.

But by the end of Saturday's match at Houston, the Portland Thorns found themselves atop the National Women's Soccer League standings.

Tyler Lussi scored a wonderful tying goal in the 70th minute and Midge Purce took advantage of a mistake from the Dash five minutes later as Portland rallied to beat Houston 2-1 at BBVA Stadium.

The Thorns improved to 5-1-4 (19 points). Ten games into the 24-game season, they lead Washington by one point and Reign FC and Utah be two points.

The Dash are 3-3-4 (13), sixth in the standings.

Lussi's first goal of the season changed the game. She hit a left-footed shot from 25 yards on the counterattack that beat Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell.

Lussi's goal came moments after Houston's Kealia Ohai had a one-on-one chance and took a shot that went right to Portland goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom.

Moments before, Ohai had an open volley chance sail high from close range.

The go-ahead goal came at the end of a free kick from near midfield. Houston defender Ally Prisock got her head to the ball, but it continued toward goal and landed for both Lussi and Purce in scoring position.

With her fifth goal of the season, Purce is second in the NWSL to Sam Kerr's six goals for Chicago.

Kyah Simon scored for Houston in the 51st minute. She worked free at the back post to put in a free kick delivered by Christine Nairn.

The game featured the return of two of Portland's nine World Cup participants: Brazil's Andressinha started in midfield and played 79 minutes. Australia's Ellie Carpenter came on at halftime for Emily Menges, who returned from injury to start on the back line.

The Dash had 56 percent of possession, but the Thorns had a 12-11 advantage in shots (5-3 on goal).

Portland played the first 10 minutes in the attacking half, but Houston had the best early looks. Amber Brooks sent a header wide from a 12th-minute corner kick, and Kristie Mewis almost collected a through pass moments later.

The best Portland chance of the first half was a Purce header off a free kick from Andressinha.

In the 47th minute, Purce got behind the defense, but her shot from a tight angle went wide across the face of goal.

The Thorns will play their third home match of the season at 8 p.m. Friday, when rival Reign FC visits Providence Park.


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