covering our community

Portland Thorns defeat Pilots in friendly

Pilots defender Lorielle McCluskie slide tackles against Thorns’ midfielder Danielle Foxhoven
/ Photo by Elizabeth Tertadian

Watch out, there’s a new women’s team in town.

In a game that was exciting from beginning to end, the Portland Thorns FC won their inaugural friendly against the Pilots on Saturday evening in front of a sell-out crowd at Merlo Field.

Have a listen to some of the highlights from the game:

With just three weeks of training under their belts, and without four national team players such as Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan, the Thorns looked rather mismatched. But they figured it out in the second half, scoring a pair of goals in the second half to win 2-1 against the Pilots.

The Pilots, who also were an incomplete team without their seniors and incoming freshman, got to work early, as junior forward Amanda Frisbee capitalized on a breakaway to find the net and score, giving the Pilots to a 1-0 lead going into the second half.

Heading into the second half,  Danielle Foxhoven, a University of Portland alumnae,  took advantage of a skirmish in front of the Pilots’ net to help secure an own-goal by the Pilots to even up the score 1-1 in the 52nd minute. Thorns midfielder Allie Long scored the game-winner during the 73rd minute of a long shot from 20 yards out.

The action continued with the Thorns controlling most of the game, as they out-shot the Pilots 23-6, including 13-3 during the second half. Of the Thorns’ 23 shots, 14 were on goal, forcing Pilots goalies Erin Dees and Nichole Downing to make 12 saves. Dees had an impressive game, prompting a recurring “You’ll never score on Dees” chant from the Villa Drum Squad, as a reminder of the 3 saves during the 9-round shoot that Dees made against Washington State at the 2012 NCAA Playoffs to help the Pilots to victory.

Pilots forward Micaela Capelle nearly tied the game in the 88th minute, but her shot on an open goal went wide of the left post.

Admission was free to Saturday night’s game, and more than $12,000 in donations was collected to help support the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute’s Play Smart Young heart screening program.

The Thorns open the NWSL season April 13 at Kansas City. Portland’s home opener is April 21 against Seattle at JELD-WEN Field.

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