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Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 3, North Carolina Courage 3
The Portland Thorns faced the North Carolina Courage away and remained unbeaten with another 3-3 thriller.
In the first minute, Tyler Lussi played a nice ball into Ryan Williams who drove the end line. Williams proceeded to hit a cross off the leg of Emily Menges and somehow found the back of the net past Bixby. This is the fastest goal that the Portland Thorns have ever conceded in team history.
In the beginning stages, both teams struggled dealing with the press. Portland started to find their footing after the quarter minute mark. The Sophia Smith to Crystal Dunn connection paid off for another goal in the 22nd minute. Smith laid a ball back to Dunn who calmly finished past Murphy to equalize. However, that score was short-lived. Kerolin scored a goal against the run of play from long distance in the 26th minute.
Portland’s backline struggled mightily to slow down Kerolin. The back four have struggled mightily overall in fact since Sauerbrunn went down with injury.
After conceding again, Sophia Smith took over with her dribbling, shooting, and passing. Unfortunately, Portland could not take advantage to go into the half tied.
In the second half, Portland was the team with the majority of the possession, but they were exposed multiple times on the counter. Kerolin continued to wreak havoc and cause problems.
The best sequence of play happened in the 52nd minute when Sophia Smith backheeled a pass in stride to Klingenberg who laid it across goal for an easy Dunn finish. Crystal Dunn scored her second of two goals for Portland to tie it up.
Menges was beat on the third goal when Wingate went past her and found Pickett to retake the lead and make it 3-2.
Portland trailed 3 times and never led.
In the 83rd minute, Olivia Moultrie leveled it with a left-footed curler to get past Murphy for the 3-3 equalizer! This is one of the best finishes you’ll see all season.
In the final moments, both teams had chances, but could not finish.
The Thorns remain undefeated, but have allowed 6 goals in 2 games.
1' 0-1 NCC - That could be the unluckiest start ever in Thorns history. Williams hits a cross, deflects off Menges, and gets passed Bixby for a goal.
17’ Weaver finds Smith in the box, but the shot goes wide.
22' - 1-1! Sophia Smith drives to the left of the box and slots it back to Crystal Dunn who finishes it past Casey Murphy!
26’ - 1-2 NCC's Kerolin finishes from long distance to put the home team back ahead. Portland has conceded 5 goals in less than 120 minutes.
31' Smith smashes a shot that is barely parried away by Murphy. No one is there for the rebound.
38' Sophia Smith almost finds the upper 90! Murphy just able to push it aside.
38’ Smith finds Sincy in the box, but the finish is over the bar.
44’ Dunn fires it near post, but Murphy was ready.
45’ +3 Kerolin gets past multiple Thorns defenders and lays it back perfectly, but Bella Bixby comes up huge.
50’ - Natu clears it off the goal line. Save of the week nominee.
52’ - 2-2! BEST GOAL OF THE YEAR! What a sequence! Smith backheels to Kling who lays it off for an easy finish for Crystal Dunn. She is now on a brace!
62' Kerolin is a baller. Goes on a counter and lays it off before Bella denies her. Sam Coffey makes a full on sprint to catch up and puts on a good challenge.
67' Olivia Moultrie is on for Sincy
71’ - 2-3 NCC Menges gets beat by Wingate who lays off to Pickett for the goal.
76’ Leon and Nally are on for Weaver and Menges.
80’ Izzy on for Hina
83’ - 3-3 Olivia Moultrie ties it up for Portland. Her insane left-footed curler sneaks into the post past Murphy!
90’ - Sophia Smith receives a yellow card
Meaghan Nally needs to get an opportunity to start at CB with Becky Sauerbrunn out for weeks. She has been solid in her minutes this season and provides stability for the backline with Hubly, Natu, and Kling.
Olivia Moultrie has been superb in her limited minutes and has been a difference maker. Mike Norris has said she is pushing to be a starter — but the time is now.
The Smith to Dunn connection has been massive so far this season. Sophia also picked up her 5th assist.
Crystal Dunn tallied a brace with Sophia Smith being influential in both.
Dunn and Smith lead the team with 4 and 3 goals, respectively.
Portland has given up 6 goals since Becky Sauerbrunn has been out. This backline seems to be a tad lost without her leadership and organization.
Bella Bixby came up huge in the second half, but the first half will weigh heavily.
Natu’s speed was on display, especially in the second half. Her ability to track back and put some challenges on Kerolin was huge.
Sam Coffey’s work rate is second to none. She seems to work best with Olivia and Crystal as they help her with some defensive duties.
For anyone that says Sophia Smith isn’t the best player in NWSL, they’re 100% wrong as it’s an obvious fact at this point.
This team is now tied in first of the table with 12 points alongside Washington Spirit.
At this point last year, Portland had 9 points.
What were your thoughts on the match?