Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 1, Washington Spirit 1
Portland Thorns faced off against the Washington Spirit with huge NWSL table implications. The undisputed NWSL MVP left the game early due to injury. And NWSL is united 100% behind Jenni Hermoso!
The Portland Thorns and Washington played to a 1-1 draw, which saw Morgan Weaver score and Sophia Smith leave the game injured.
But we were also reminded how powerful these players, staff, and the entire league is united.
Last week, Mike Norris and Portland Thorns rolled out a 4-4-2 and he would go with that again.
In the first half, the Portland Thorns did not come out with any urgency at all. They were second to every ball and played the entire half on the back foot. The Washington Spirit dominated the proceedings and had chances all half to get the opening goal, but were sloppy with their finishing. Instead of being up multiple goals, Washington had to settle for zero.
Late in the first half before stoppage time, the worst thing that could of happened, did.
Sophia Smith is the best player in NWSL, but also one of the very best players in the entire world.
So when it comes to injuries, it is just brutal and unfair to see Smith be the one to suffer.
In the first half while reaching for a ball, Sophia Smith went down holding her right knee. It did not look good, and she had to be taken of the game. She was seen in crutches after the game.
Please send your best wishes for a speedy recovery for her as she is not only a standout on the field, but off the pitch as well. Sophia Smith is one of the best representatives the city and community that PTFC could ever ask for.
Mike Norris didn’t have many updates to share postgame: “I haven't had a chance to check in with the medical team. Swollen leg and knee injury, the extent of that, I don't know. She's out there with the team. No definitive information. Sorry.”
It was truly a tale of two halves. The first 15 minutes of the second half started similarly to the first half, but that’s when the Portland Thorns absolutely took over.
In the final half hour, they woke up.
In the 64th minute, Olivia Moultrie and Sam Coffey played a nice combination before the NWSL league leading assist leader added another one. Coffey placed a perfectly weighted pass to Morgan Weaver who finished in the upper 90 to give the Thorns the lead.
They would have chances to get the insurance goal, but it never came.
In the 87th minute, against the run of play, Emily Menges was called for the handball. She found a foot on the ball to save the goal, but it ricocheted onto her arm after. After a VAR review the ref pointed to the spot.
Make no mistake, by the book this was called correctly. However, the “spirit” of the handball rule was never meant to be applied like that. The inconsistency and the officiating in the league needs to decide what truly is a handball before even more games get decided incorrectly.
Ashley Hatch would convert the PK to tie the game up.
Portland responded once again and kept their heads up, but just couldn’t find the winner.
Even though the Portland Thorns were a bit slower on the attacking end, head coach Mike Norris set up his defense for success. Yes Washington had chances, but they were very far and far between. The Portland Thorns dominated proceedings in the second half.
Crystal Dunn and Hina Sugita returned as subs in the second half and will likely have a bigger role against Louisville.
5' The Spirit is moving the ball from right to left with patience to open up spaces. So far they have had two shots, one off target and one on target.
15' Good ball from Sophia to Weaver but the Spirit defense gets to it first.
42’ The unthinkable just happened: Soph is down holding her right knee.
45’ Hannah Betfort on for Sophia Smith.
46’ Taylor Porter on for Rocky Rodriguez in the second half
64’ 1-0 Portland Thorns! Sam Coffey with her league leading 7th assist to Morgan Weaver who beats Aubrey Kingsbury.
71’ Reyna Reyes and Crystal Dunn on for Olivia Moultrie & Klingenberg
83’ Hina takes a shot from 35 yards out and nearly beats Kingsbury. It does earn Portland a corner!
87’ Emily Freakin’ Menges with the goal saving touch… but then it goes to a VAR check for a possible handball
90’ +1 Handball confirmed after review.
90’ +2 Goal Spirit 1-1 Ashley Hatch finishes the penalty kick.
90’+10 FULLTIME: 1-1 Draw
Sunday’s game was played against the backdrop of a heartbreaking and infuriating crisis within the Spanish Football Federation.
Jenni Hermoso and the Spain Women’s National Team just won their first ever World Cup. That moment was ruined by Luis Rubiales who did the unthinkable on live television. To make matters worse, their head coach Jorge Vilda has been in headlines even before the tournament for everything you can imagine.
The Spanish Federation is rotten and needs to stand by their players and not be the same people who continue to play by different rules and laws.
Every footballer deserves to feel safe and to celebrate their achievements. To have that taken away from them is heartbreaking and infuriating
That absolutely has no place in football and every single player deserves better.
The Portland Thorns players, along with players across the NWSL this weekend, wore wristbands with “Contigo Jenni” written on them in support and solidarity with the Spanish star. Sam Coffey also spoke about it postgame.
The NWSL and Portland Thorns have united in their support for Jenni Hermoso.
Tweet of the Day
In tweet (or post) response to Sam Coffey’s outrageous through ball to assist Weaver’s goal on twitter (or X), her sister Alex gave us the best image of the day:
Quote of the Day:
The Thorns continue their road swing next Saturday September 2, when they square off against Racing Louisville in Kentucky, with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m. PT.