Thorns out of Challenge Cup, Fall to Houston in Semifinals 1-0

The Portland Thorns FC knocked out the two-time defending National Women’s Soccer League champs last week, but now their Challenge Cup run is over. Houston’s goal in the 69th minute sends Portland home.

Before the game, Meghan Klingenberg gave a rousing pre-game speech.

Sadly, the flames from Klingenberg didn’t translate to a goal in the opening 45 minutes. The teams were tied 0-0 at the break.

Thorns keeper Britt Ellen Eckerstrom continued her impressive play.

But a header off the cross bar made a save impossible after the ball found Rachel Daly.

Both Houston and Portland were relatively even in the box score. Houston led in shots (12-10), shots on goal (4-3) and corners (5-3), while the two squads were even in shots blocked (3).

The Thorns led the way in both possession (61.8 percent) and passing accuracy (71.6% to 51.9%).

Owner Merritt Paulson was more than pleased with the team’s grit especially after the injuries and absences.

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