Discover more from Stumptown Footy
Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 2, NC Courage 1
Portland got a win against NC Courage at Providence Park. No. 1 and 2 battled for 90 minutes with the home team being down a woman from minute 16 on Sunday night.
The Thorns are back! What looked like a promising game for them radically changed when the unexpected happened.
Only hours after the world cup was over, Portland hosted the North Carolina Courage. Some of the international players were back, among them Christine Sinclair and Rocky Rodríguez who were part of the starting XI while Sophia Smith was on the bench.
The Thorns started on the front foot with two good opportunities not even a minute into the game. Olivia Moultrie seeded the forwards with through balls that gave Portland some good chances in front of Casey Murphy.
The home team kept possession and made good decisions about when to pass or hold the ball which created some good looks for them. The Courage weathered the storm and then everything changed not even 15 minutes into the game.
The Courage were originally awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute after Kelli Hubly was adjudged to have fouled Victoria Pickett in the box. After a VAR review the penalty was changed to a free kick — but Hubly was shown a red card for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Tyler Luiss capitalized after she banged her free kick off the underside of the crossbar and over the line, and the former Thorn gave her new side the lead.
Despite playing with ten, the Thorns battled back. The red-hot Hannah Betfort scored an incredible goal to tie the match in the 42nd minute.
Portland leveling the game before halftime was important but they still needed to play 45 minutes more with a player down.
Despite their advantage in numbers, the visitors started to lose the ball on their side of the field and Portland didn’t waste those opportunities. What is more, near the 70th minute Sophia Smith came back and started to terrorize the Courage’s backline.
The World Cup star scored seconds after stepping onto the field, giving the Thorns the advantage. Portland survived the storm and came away from the game with a signature comeback win.
2’ Chaos inside of North Carolina’s box but Portland can’t take advantage of it.
6’ Olivia Moultrie sets Morgan Weaver with a through ball but NC defense blocks her.
13’ CHAOS! Kelli Hubly fouls Pickett and the referee awards a PK to the Courage.
16’ VAR overturns the decision and the referee decides to send off Hubly and awards the Courage a free kick instead.
19’ Goal North Carolina.Tyler Lussi converts the free kick and the goal is awarded after another intervention of VAR.
22’ Substitution: Meaghan Nally enters for Christine Sinclair.
42’ GOAL! Hannah Betfort receives the ball from a lob pass by Moultrie and scores the equalizer!
55’ Crossbar! Picket’s ball hits the woodwork.
58’ It’s Bella Bixby vs Wingate and the GK got the ball in the end.
60’ Sam Coffey collects a ball outside the box and shoots… it goes wide by inches!
67’ Substitutions: Sophia Smith and Taylor Porter enter for Betfort and Rocky Rodríguez.
84’ Weaver shoots but it goes wide!
85’ Substitutions: Reyna Reyes and Izzy D’Aquila enter for Weaver and Natalia Kuikka.
90+8’ Final whistle: Portland Thorns 2, NC Courage 1.
Portland showed some grit, being one player down since minute 16. Too bad Christine Sinclair couldn’t stay longer in the game due to a forced change in formation. Sam Coffey was very good again and despite having to play with 10 players most of the match, the Courage didn’t look as if they would have a big advantage.
Rocky in the middle of the park was a great addition to balance things out and her work there was invaluable. And of course, Sophia Smith making an instant impact on the score was great to see again.
The top of the table is Portland’s again.
The Thorns will be back in action next Sunday in another game that could determine first place. Portland travels to face the Washington Spirit at 2 p.m. on Sunday August 27.