Thorns lose 2-0 to Boston Breakers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward Sydney Leroux recorded a first-half brace as the Boston Breakers defeated Portland Thorns FC 2-0 before 12,436 fans at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday night.

Boston’s Leroux, a standout forward for the U.S. Women’s National Team, tallied goals in the 11th and 38th minutes on assists from teammate Heather O’Reilly extending Boston’s unbeaten streak to three games.

Thorns FC (8-4-2, 26pts) attempted a season-high 20 shots, including 14 in the second half while searching for a way back into the match after going down by a pair of goals. Forward Alex Morgan registered a season-high eight shots, putting a header just wide of the right post in the 14th minute as Portland remains in second place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings.

Leroux, who leads the NWSL with 10 goals this season, recorded the opening goal for Boston in the 11th minute with a well-struck shot from 22 yards out. O’Reilly worked her way through a tackle near the left edge of the penalty box and sent a short pass to the top of the box for Leroux. With her first touch, Leroux slotted a right-footed shot to the lower right corner past Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

LeBlanc made six saves in the match, one shy of tying a season high, but Portland saw its two-game, home-winning streak come to an end in the loss.

Boston outshot Portland 6-1 on goal in the first 45 minutes as Leroux doubled the Breakers’ lead just minutes before halftime.

On a counterattack, England international midfielder Lianne Sanderson collected the ball in the Boston defensive third of the field and passed to O’Reilly in the middle. O’Reilly delivered a pass through the Thorns FC back line as Leroux outraced the Portland defense and placed a right-footed shot past LeBlanc low to the left post for a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute.

Leroux finished the match with seven shots (four on goal), while O’Reilly added four shots for the Breakers.

Coming into the second half with a greater sense of urgency, Thorns FC registered 14 shots, including six on goal, while trying to make their way back into the game.

Midfielder Nikki Washington saw an effort from outside the box saved by Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who finished with seven saves. Shortly after Washington’s attempt, Morgan and forward Christine Sinclair exchanged quick passes near the top of the box before Sinclair delivered a shot directly at Naeher in the 60th minute.

Midfielder Tiffany Weimer attempted two shots and Morgan saw a right-footed drive sail just high of the upper right corner in the 70th minute as Thorns FC continued to apply offensive pressure on Boston during the second half.

Late in the match, Morgan had a strong effort from inside the box tipped over the crossbar and a point-blank shot, set up by a pin-point through ball from midfielder Allie Long in the 86th minute, was saved by Naeher.