Aussies Abroad: Foord scores as familiar faces feature in NWSL opener

Caitlin Foord has transferred her stunning form for the Westfield Matildas into the National Women's Soccer League opener, scoring and dishing an assist in a 2-0 win for Portland Thorns over Orlando Pride.

After spending last season as the bridesmaids - finishing second in both the NWSL Shield and in the Championship - Portland were ominous in their season-opener.

(Lead image courtesy of nwslsoccer.com)

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Featuring Westfield Matildas teenage sensation Ellie Carpenter and familiar faces in Brisbane Roar playmaker Celeste Boureille and former Sydney defender Emily Sonnett, the Thorns opened their account through the Australian forward on the cusp of the interval.

Having been teed up superbly by teammate Tobin Heath for the opener, Foord then turned provider for the American after half-time, sending a low cross across the 18-yard box for Heath to flick home deftly.

Carpenter was rock-solid in defence, playing the full 90 minutes as Portland kept a clean sheet.

Australian attacker Hayley Raso did not feature for Portland due to a pending visa clearance, while Westfield Matildas teammates Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond were absent for Orlando.


Elsewhere, Elise Kellond-Knight made her NWSL debut as Reign FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw against Houston Dash.

Kellond-Knight entered the fray in the 26th minute for Melbourne City teammate Jasmyne Spencer, who had to withdraw after suffering a leg injury early in the match.

Also on the field was Westfield Matildas stalwart Clare Polkinghorne, who played the full match for Dash, limiting Reign to just two shots on target.

An incredible finish to the match!

Despite being on the back foot, Reign nearly snatched victory after Jodie Taylor earned a penalty in the 93rd minute. However, Dash shot-stopper Jane Campbell stood tall to deny the visitors a smash-and-grab victory.

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams was an unused substitute for Reign FC, while Steph Catley did not feature. For Houston, Kyah Simon is nearing a timely return as she builds match fitness.