On Sunday, the Portland Thorns FC were everything they were always supposed to be.
The Thorns were tenacious on defense and spectacular on offense in a 7-1 win over FC Kansas City before an announced crowd of 9,627 at Providence Park.
Theres no rhyme or reason, Thorns coach Paul Riley said, about why Portland finally was able to put together the performance of its season. It was another good week of practice. There was some good goals, some great combinations and we missed a couple of goals. Kansas City is probably the best football team in the nation. And to out-football them is really good.
The Thorns finished the match with 19 shots and 10 balls on frame. FC Kansas City had 15 shots and put three shots on goal.
The Thorns took a 3-1 lead at halftime on goals by midfielder Veronica Boquete in the third minute, striker Alex Morgan in the 15th minute and Allie Long in the 43rd minute.
Long completed her brace and put Portland up 4-1 in the 63rd minute.
Boquete completed her brace in the 76th minute on a penalty kick.
Striker Christine Sinclair then scored in the 80th to put Portland up 6-1, and midfielder Amber Brooks completed the rout with a goal in the 88th minute.
The Thorns (7-6-4 25 points) dominated the first 30 minutes of the match, creating dangerous opportunity after dangerous opportunity.
]Portland got on the board in the third minute and took control of the match when Morgan got a pass in the final third and turned it into gold.
After receiving the pass, Morgan sent a touch pass to Boquete on the left side of the 18-yard box. Boquete took the pass, corralled it, turned and fired a shot to the far post that left FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart with zero chance of defending it.
When I got the ball, I was sure it had to be (a goal), Boquete said. I turned and with my left foot I shot.
The Thorns then went ahead 2-0 in the 15th minute. Stephanie Catley got a pass in the middle of the pitch and centered it to Morgan, who was making a run into the box. Morgan took a touch and sent a shot to the right post and into the back of the net.
FC Kansas City (10-5-3, 33 points) pulled within a goal in the 30th minute.
Amy Rodriguez sent a pass to Katrina Gorry at the top of the 18-yard box. Gorry took a touch and found herself unmarked. She sent a soft, chip shot over the head of Portland goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, making the score 2-1.
Portland gave itself breathing room in the 43rd minute on the defensive effort and shooting ability of Long.
Heath stole a pass inside the final third and sent a ball in to Long. The Thorns midfielder received the pass just four yards from goal, with only Barnhart to beat. Long hit a ball to the left post, and Portland led 3-1.
I picked off a pass and found 'Sinc, Long said. We did a give-and-go. I aimed for the (left post) and was lucky enough to get it through.
Portland took a 4-1 lead in the 63rd minute on a beautiful pass and shot. Boquete dribbled into the final third and passed to Long inside the 18-yard box. Long got the ball 10 yards from goal, turned and shot, sending the ball inside the right post.
'Vero played a great ball, Long said. I took my first touch to goal and tried to bend it far post.
Portland then went up 5-1 on a PK in the 75th minute.
As Heath dribbled into the box, Amy LePeilbet was whistled for a foul, giving Portland the penalty kick.
Boquete lined up for the attempt. She sent the ball to the bottom left corner. Barnhart guessed to the other side and the ball found the back of the net, ensuring the Portland blowout.
I did zero, said a very humble Boquete. It was just a penalty kick.
Sinclair added to the blowout in the 80th minute. Boquete took the ball down the left side of the pitch and sent a ball into the 6-yard box. Sinclair had beat her marker and was able to head the ball inside the near post.
Portland poured it on even more in the 88th minute.
Mana Shim had the ball on the right side and sent a cross into Brooks. The Thorns midfielder knocked a header into the goal for the resounding 7-1 victory.
The Thorns will have a short week coming up. Portland will play host to the Boston Breakers on Thursday, then travel to play the Washington Spirit on Sunday.
Said Riley: We have a tough stretch ahead of us.
The Portland players hope to continue their momentum.
I want to believe, said Boquete, that this is the game that will change everything.