Thorns beat Dash 3-0, clinch playoff spot

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Allie Long scored twice and the Portland Thorns beat the Houston Dash 3-0 after clinching a playoff spot earlier Wednesday night.

Long scored on a header off Tobin Heath's free kick in the 26th minute to open the scoring. Long worked her way around a fallen defender for her second in the 71st minute. Christine Sinclair added a goal in the 90th minute.

Thorns clinched a playoff berth in the 14th minute when the Seattle Reign fell 2-1 to the Washington Spirit at Maryland's SoccerPlex. With the victory, the Spirit clinched a home playoff berth.

The playoff picture in the National Women's Soccer League became clearer after five midweek games.

The Boston Breakers and the Western New York Flash played to a 2-2 draw earlier in the evening, which eliminated both FC Kansas and the Dash from the playoffs.

Shea Groom scored twice and Kansas City defeated the Chicago Red Stars 3-2. The Orlando Pride played to a 1-all draw with Sky Blue.

Seattle is still alive for one of the two remaining playoff spots.

The night was marked by controversy when the Spirit held the pregame national anthem before the teams took the field. The move prevented Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe from kneeling during the anthem, which she first did during a match Sunday in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick hasn't stood for the anthem during preseason games in protest of racial injustice and minority oppression.

The Spirit issued a statement explaining the decision following the match.

"Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the ability to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begin a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans," the Spirit said in a statement.

KGW


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