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NWSL soccer: Portland has chances late, but settles for a draw that trims its margin atop the league to one point over OL Reign.

Goals: None.

What it means: Now winless in three, the Thorns remain atop the NWSL at 12-6-3 (39 points). But their cushion atop the league has dwindled to one point over OL Reign heading into a Wednesday showdown between the rivals at Providence Park.

Match moments: In the 85th minute, Christine Sinclair took a penalty kick and hit the left post while trying to beat former teammate Adrianna Franch. Morgan Weaver drew the foul. … In the 75th minute, Franch went low to her right for a save on a Weaver header from a Portland corner kick. …. Those chances came as Portland took control of the match for the last 15 to 20 minutes, when fresh legs from substitutes Weaver, Simone Charley and Jazmine Ryan helped the Thorns keep possession in the attacking third for significant stretches. … Each team managed only two shots on goal. The narrow field at Legends Field, home of the minor-league baseball club the Kansas City Monarchs, made finding or creating space a challenge and each team was disciplined in protecting its own penalty area.


Thorns coach Mark Parsons: "It's a tough place, but I thought we managed (the narrow field), that we took care of it. Especially first half, we were creating sustained attacks. But we obviously lacked the right cross and the right pass. And movements weren't as sharp as they normally are in and around the 18-yard box. We were off."

Parsons said the lack of quality chances was not because of effort: "I think everyone is absolutely exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and I'm just proud of how everyone continues to lead themselves right now and lead their teammates take care of the teammates. They're still pushing and fighting for trophies, while also fighting for much more important things off the field."

Thorns defender Emily Menges said the players appreciate the support they've received in the wake of the abuse scandals involving NWSL coaches. "We talked to some of the girls in Kansas City last night and (we agreed) 'let's just assume no one's doing well.' It's just a very emotional week it's a very tough week, a lot of things are happening. I think that's one of the hardest things, too … there's still a lot more to come. But it is very cool that we are getting support from around the world. You have the Premier League girls doing the sixth-minute (stoppage), showing their support over there because obviously it's a worldwide problem."

Up next: Rival OL Reign visits Providence Park at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13. This is a makeup of the Oct. 2 postponed match, and features the top two teams in the NWSL standings.

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