Aussies Abroad: Raso strikes as table-toppers Portland Thorns extend NWSL lead

Hayley Raso got the ball rolling as ladder-leaders Portland Thorns surged to a 3-1 win against Washington Spirit.

Raso, who played for Brisbane Roar in the Westfield W-League 2018/19, was one of five Westfield Matildas to feature in this National Women’s Soccer League clash and the 24-year-old made her presence felt after only five minutes.

Feature image courtesy of Portland Thorns on Twitter

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Ellie Carpenter also started for Portland, while Caitlin Foord came on as a second-half substitute.

Elise Kellond-Knight was named in the visitors’ line-up, Chloe Logarzo was introduced later and Amy Harrison remained on the Washington bench.

Raso delivered a composed left-footed finish to put the Thorns into an early lead in front of more than 20,000 supporters at Providence Park.

Emily Sonnett doubled the advantage on 19 minutes and Canada international forward Christine Sinclair added a third on 63 minutes.

Andi Sullivan hit back for Spirit five minutes later but the damage had been done. Portland extend their grip at the top to four points ahead of the chasing pack. 

Sam Kerr’s second-placed Chicago Red Stars have a game in hand, while, five points back in third, defending champions North Carolina Courage, have played two games fewer than Portland.

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Royals take the points in Florida

Alanna Kennedy’s Orlando Pride slipped to a 2-0 defeat by Utah Royals.

With Kennedy playing in midfielder, a close contest was opened up on the hour by United States FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 winner Christen Press, who shot the visitors into a one-goal advantage.

Fellow US international Amy Rodriguez doubled the scores on 77 minutes to clinch three points for the away side. 

Utah stay in pursuit of the top four finals spots. Pride remain in ninth place, at the bottom of the NWSL ladder.