Hayley Raso gave credit to her Portland Thorns teammates for their commitment to the high press approach which bore fruit on Sunday.
Westfield Matilda Raso fired in her fourth National Women’s Soccer League goal of the season to put the ladder-leaders a goal up against Washington Spirit after only five minutes.
Feature image courtesy of Portland Thorns on Twitter
Portland went on to record a 3-1 victory in front of 20,895 fans at Providence Park, with additional goals from Emily Sonnett and Christine Sinclair. Andi Sullivan pulled a second-half goal back for Spirit.
The opening goal arrived when the Thorns forward line pinned Washington back deep in their own territory and Raso added a composed left-footed finish from the edge of the penalty area.
“Pressing high forces mistakes, forces errors in the backline. So I think it’s a real strength of ours when we do that,” Raso said.
“Scoring early, also gets the other team down a little bit. So I think for us, it was good to go out there, get that early goal and then just keep building from that.”
Raso celebrated the victory with international teammates Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter as the Thorns surged to a four-point lead at the top of the NWSL ladder after 18 games.
Catley’s Reign settle for draw
Steph Catley’s Reign FC missed their chance to climb into the NWSL’s top four finals place after they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Sky Blue FC.
The New Jersey-based side seized the initiative on 36 minutes through midfielder Elizabeth Eddy but the hosts’ advantage lasted only two minutes.
England international Jodie Taylor, who featured for Melbourne City in the Westfield W-League 2018/19, struck the equaliser in front of a record crowd of 9,415 at Red Bull Arena.
A share of the points on the road leaves Reign fifth, behind fourth-placed Utah Royals only on goal difference.