The Red Stars’ Christen Press And The Portland Thorns Battle To Epic Tie

The most in-form player of the young season nearly beat Portland all by herself, but the league’s best team refused to be deterred.

One of the hottest players of 2015 clashed with the best team in the NWSL on Saturday at the Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. The game was the marquee match up of the weekend, and it did not disappoint. 

Christen Press, last week’s NWSL player of the week, has been absolutely unstoppable during the beginning of the 2015 campaign. She earned Player of the Week honors last week, and she did just about everything to make sure that she is up for consideration for it again this week. 

Press opened the scoring in the 4th minute, immediately displaying her red hot form. She took down a long ball with ease, cut across the defense, and curled in a shot to the far post from 35 yards. 

If Portland’s back line could not be faulted too much for Press’ first, her second in the 8th minute made a mockery of it. She took down an pass that was a near carbon copy of the one that assisted her first goal. This time, instead of cutting across the defense, she burst past it like it wasn’t even there. Striding to her left, she unleashed a low left footed drive to the right of Thorns keeper Angerer Nadine. Nadine, the current FIFA World Player of the Year, was made to look pedestrian as the shot refused to be stopped by her outstretched hand, and deflected into the back of the net. 

Despite Press’ attempts to wage the world’s first one woman shock and awe campaign, the Portland Thorns were not deterred. Thorns forward Christine Sinclair combined with Allie long for some brilliant short passes before unleashing a perfectly placed shot that bent along the ground into the far post. It was a well worked goal, but the Red Stars defense will undoubtedly not be happy with itself as three players were in a position to deal with the two Thorns.

The Red Stars frustrations would continue as Portland equalized in the opening minutes after half time. After an authoritative tackle on a Thorn cutting across the box, the ball rolled to the Thorns Shim Meleana. Initially facing away from goal with 5 Red Stars between in and her, Meleana seemed to have had no right to score. But she dug the ball out from under her feet with a perfect snap shot that sent the ball just inside the far post.

There would be more chances, but neither team could capitalize, and the match would end 2-2. If the rest of the Chicago-Portland games can live up to the spectacle that this match provided, we are in for some very, very exciting games this season. 

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