CF Monterrey beats Portland Thorns in Women's International Champions Cup
This time, the shootout went the wrong way for the Portland Thorns.
A year ago, the Thorns won a semifinal tiebreaker after coming from behind en route to the Women's International Champions Cup title. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Providence Park, it was Mexican club CF Monterrey that came back and emerged with the win thanks to three saves in the penalty-kick shootout from goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez.
Portland and Monterrey played to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes, then the visitors converted three penalties to two for the Thorns.
The result means the Thorns will face England's Chelsea for third place at 5 p.m. Saturday, a match slated to be televised on ESPNU.
Monterrey will face French power Olympique Lionnais at 8 p.m. Saturday for the Women's International Champions Cup championship. In Wednesday's first semifinal, Lyon rallied from two goals down thanks in part to a free kick from Portland Thorn Lindsey Horan, who is on loan with the French and European champions, and emerged winner in a penalty-kick tie breaker.
One of the players who converted a penalty for Monterrey against Portland was Sherwood High grad Daniela Solis, who played one season at Portland State before moving to her native Mexico to pursue her soccer career. She has been with Monterrey since 2017.
Thorns, fifth minute — Marissa Everett was sent in on goal by a one-touch pass from Janine Beckie on a ball out of midfield by Yazmeen Ryan and converted. Moments earlier, Monterrey goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez denied Everett on a one-on-one chance.
Monterrey, 68th minute — Diana Garcia broke into the penalty area at the end of a combination of one-touch passes and beat goalkeeper Abby Smith to the far post.
Portland — Morgan Weaver saved; Christine Sinclair saved; Hannah Betfort scores inside right post; Sam Coffey scores left side net; Janine Beckie saved.
Monterrey CF — Rebecca Bernal saved by Abby Smith; Daniela Solis scores; Yamile Franco scores; Lizette Rodriguez scores.
Big picture: With a heavily rotated lineup, the Thorns were effective in transition early in the match. Everett's goal came on her second breakaway opportunity in the first few minutes, but Portland was unable to build on its lead.
This match was an opportunity for young players to get experience in a competitive atmosphere against a motivated opponent. Coach Rhian Wilkinson acknowledged that some of the off-target passing could be attributed to new partnerships on the field.
While disappointing, this result does not impact Portland's standing atop the National Women's Soccer League. With two league matches and challenging travel next week — the Thorns play at North Carolina on Wednesday, Aug. 24 and back home against San Diego on Saturday, Aug. 27 — it will be interesting to see who's in the lineup on Saturday against Chelsea. If there was a trophy on the line, would Wilkinson be more inclined to use players who are going to be called upon for big minutes next week? Time will tell.
One positive for Portland was the return of Emily Menges. The defender played 12 minutes, her first action since May.
Reaction: Wilkinson said the performance was not up to Thorns standards.
"We had a team on the field that was very capable of winning tonight. But, I do think there were some partnerships that are new and fresh, and they looked a little bit disjointed. And then frustration creeps in. So that kind of stuff really derails you," she said. "(Thorns players) did bring themselves back. I thought they did well in the second half to sort of find their rhythm again. They weren't dangerous in dangerous areas. They were being held outside the 18-yard box. I thought Monterey did really well with that."
Wednesday's first match — Goals by Sam Kerr in the eighth minute and Lauren James in the 50th (off a Kerr) assist had Chelsea up 2-0. But Horan curled in a beautiful free kick from 22 yards in the 76th minute and Signe Bruun tied it 2-2 in a scramble in the 88th before Lyon prevailed 4-3 on penalties.
Next Thorns match — Chelsea at Portland, 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 (ESPNU).
WICC championship — Lyon vs. Monterrey, 8 p.m. Saturday at Providence Park (ESPN2).
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