PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Thorns played Sunday night before their second sellout crowd of more than 21,000, though it was bittersweet.
Already eliminated from the playoffs, the Thorns honored a pair of popular players who are retiring from the game: goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and defender Rachel Van Hollebeke.
Angerer, who has started in goal for the German national team since 2007, announced before this year's World Cup that she was retiring but vowed to play out the season with the Thorns.
Van Hollebeke recently announced that she was retiring from both the Thorns and the U.S. national team so that she could attend medical school.
The two were celebrated by the Providence Park fans before a 3-3 draw with the Washington Spirit, who have already secured one of four spots in the National Women's Soccer League playoffs. The Thorns wrap up the season on the road against the Western New York Flash on Friday.
Crystal Dunn scored twice for the Spirit, while U.S. national team players Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath each scored their first goals of the season for the Thorns.
''I tried to play like I've played all my games, but just savor each moment a little bit more,'' Van Hollebeke said. ''Before the game I just told the team, `Let's have fun today. Let's play for each other and have fun.'''
It was the second sellout of the season for the Thorns, who have a dedicated fan base that includes the supporters' club, the Rose City Riveters. Portland averages more than 15,000 at Providence Park, far above any other NWSL team's home average.
Both of Portland's sellouts, and a boost in attendance league-wide, came after the Women's World Cup in Canada. Players from the champion U.S. national team are allocated to each of the NWSL's teams.
Angerer played in the World Cup for Germany, which was ranked No. 1 going into the monthlong tournament but finished a disappointing fourth.
At 36, Angerer steps away as one of the most accomplished female goalkeepers to play the game. She is the only goalkeeper - male or female - to win FIFA world player of the year honors.
Angerer grabbed attention in the 2007 World Cup. She did not concede a single goal during the tournament, setting a World Cup record at the time for most minutes played (540) without being scored on. One of her most memorable moments came during that World Cup final against Brazil, when she stopped a penalty kick from five-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta and Germany won 2-0.
She also was in goal for European titles in 2009 and 2013. For the latter title, she saved two penalty kicks in Germany's 1-0 victory over Norway. That earned her FIFA's highest individual award for her play in 2013.
The Thorns started a Twitter hashtag (hash)DankeNadine to send her off. The German national team created a video to say goodbye, with members of the team adopting Angerer's preferred pulled-back hairstyle.
Van Hollebeke, known also by her maiden name Buehler, announced earlier this week that she was retiring from both the Thorns and the U.S. national team. The 29-year-old is starting medical school at UC San Diego this fall.
In a poignant letter, the player known affectionately as ''The Buehldozer'' thanked the U.S. team, the Thorns and her fans. One draped a sign honoring ''Doctor Dozer'' at the match.
''Soccer has been a huge part of my life for the last 25 years. It has brought many joys and occasional set-backs, but most of all it has been an incredible teacher and has helped shape the person I am today. I am so thankful for my soccer experiences and while I'm sad to move on, I am very excited to pursue my other long-held dream of becoming a doctor,'' she wrote.
Van Hollebeke leaves the game with 113 caps. She played on the 2011 World Cup team, which made it to the title game but fell to Japan.
She also won gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Van Hollebeke barely had time for her retirement to sink in. She was due in San Diego for student orientation first thing on Monday.