(Photo via PortlandThunder.com)
For the Portland Thunder, Saturday night’s game against the Los Angeles KISS in Anaheim proved to be a case of déjà vu: just like their first trip inside the Honda Center for the KISS’ home opener, the Thunder walked away with a loss, this time by a final of 69-61.
It wasn’t all bad for the Thunder, as the offense appeared to regain some of its potency with the return of Kyle Rowley. Despite fumbling a snap that led to the KISS’ first touchdown of the game early in the first quarter, Rowley appeared to quickly regain midseason form, throwing for 362 yards and seven touchdowns. Four of those scores were thrown to Eric Rogers, who led Portland with 10 receptions for 144 yards.
The Thunder’s struggles mainly manifested on defense and special teams, with the latter losing a fumble in Portland’s own endzone that increased Los Angeles’ lead to 14-0 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, outside of a pick-six by Bryce Peila, the Thunder defense floundered against the pass, allowing KISS quarterback Aaron Garcia to complete 24 of 37 pass attempts for 289 yards.
Trailing by four heading into the fourth quarter, Portland’s defense couldn’t stop Los Angeles from scoring twice to balloon their lead to 18 points, all the while eating up the clock and giving the Thunder 2 minutes to attempt a comeback. After scoring with 55 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to ten, 53-63; the Thunder defense could not stop the KISS from scoring again just nine seconds later. After scoring another touchdown and converting a 2-point attempt with 11 seconds on the clock, Portland’s ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered by Los Angeles.
The Thunder now enter their second bye week of the season before returning to the Moda Center on Thursday, June 26th for their first ever matchup against the New Orleans Voodoo.