Thorns win on the road
Ellie Carpenter became the youngest player to score a goal in the National Women's Soccer League, giving the Portland Thorns a much-needed win on Saturday.
Carpenter's goal in the 68th minute lifted Portland to a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit at Boyds, Maryland, before an announced crowd of 3,284.
The Australian entered the match in the 64th minute and made an impact by getting to a cross from Tobin Heath that found its way to the far post after deflecting off Portland's Ana Crnogorcevic in front of goal.
Carpenter, who turned 18 three weeks ago, beat Taylor Smith to the ball for the finish.
Portland had not won since April 15 (two losses and three draws). Saturday's win improved the Thorns to 3-3-3. With 12 points, Portland moved back into fourth place in the NWSL. Washington is 1-5-2.
Portland dodged a series of near misses from the Spirit, and goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom made four saves in recording her first win for the Thorns.
Midge Purce and Heath had the best chances of a scoreless first half for Portland.
In the 51st minute, Christine Sinclair took a quick shot off a Lindsey Horan pass and forced a sprawling block by defender Whitney Church.
In the 62nd minute, the Thorns should have been awarded a penalty kick. Meghan Klingenberg's long ball up the left flank sent Purce behind the defense. Washington's Andi Sullivan clattered into Purce from behind and did not play the ball, but no foul was called by referee Guido Gonzales Jr.
Emily Menges started and played the entire game on defense, her first full match of the season.
Klingenberg returned after an excused absence last weekend.
The Thorns' next two games are at home. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, they play host to the Utah Royals. On May 30, league-leading North Carolina visits Providence Park, also at 7:30 p.m.