Portland Thorns win wild opener as fight breaks out at end of match originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
It was the first time since 2019 that fans were allowed to witness a Portland Thorns match at Providence Park.
With just 25% capacity, the energy was high, both on and off the pitch.
And so was the intensity.
The Thorns scored goals in both halves, earning a 2-1 win against KC NWSL in their opening match of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup at Providence Park on Friday night. Rocky Rodríguez scored the first goal of the 2021 campaign, while Tyler Lussi tallied the game-winning goal in the 58th minute.
But the end result took a backseat to the chaos and subsequent brawl at the end of the match between Morgan Weaver of the Thorns and Kristen Edmonds of KC NWSL.
Simone Charley had received a red card in the 89th minute for a hard tackle and was ejected because she already had received a yellow card earlier in the match. Then head coach Mark Parsons was hit with a red card for arguing.
That just fanned the flames to what happened next.
Red cards were given to both Edmonds and Weaver.
There has never been more than two red cards in an NWSL game, so the four handed out Friday night was a record-setter.
Meghan Klingenberg stood up for her team after the match, demanding “quality refereeing and quality accountability” in the league.
“I want my players safe,” she said. “I want the other players on the other team safe as well. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
Timbers and Thorns owner Merritt Paulson was upset with the way the altercation was officiated, and justifiably so.
Now the Thorns could could be without Weaver and Charley, as well as Parsons for the Thorns next match against the Chicago Red Stars on April 15th.
We’ll see if the NWSL overturns any of the three red cards the Thorns received.