CARY, N.C. – Sophia Smith scored her team-leading sixth goal of the season and Portland Thorns FC went atop the NWSL standings after defeating the North Carolina Courage 1-0 at WakeMed Park Sunday afternoon.

Portland goalkeeper Bella Bixby made six saves to pick up her sixth clean sheet of the year and the Thorns earned their first win ever away at WakeMed Park. The Thorns victory also snapped NC's seven-game unbeaten streak.

Match Moments

2' - RECOVERY (POR) - Thorns defender Emily Menges slipped in her own end and the Courage's Lynn Williams took off towards goal but defender Kelli Hubly made a heroic recovery run to race back and tackle the ball away from Williams just outside the 18-yard box.

23' - CHANCE (POR) - Following a Portland corner kick, North Carolina tried to clear but the ball fell to midfielder Angela Salem who fired a laser on frame but Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy made the catch.

28' - CHANCE (POR) - A ball forward to forward Sophia Smith saw her take on a 1v3 situation before hitting a skipping shot to the left side forcing Murphy to make a diving save.

30' - SAVE (POR) - Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby stoned NC's Jessica McDonald who was through on a breakaway after being sprung free on a ball over the top from Cari Roccaro.

35' - CHANCE (POR) - Midfielder Lindsey Horan snapped a header down on frame via a Thorns corner but Murphy dove to her left to make a save.

39' - CHANCE (POR) - Menges stepped to intercept a pass in Portland's defensive third, got the ball to Salem who then fed Crystal Dunn. Dunn adeptly sprung Smith into the box who fired a shot on goal but Murphy again made a save.

57' - GOAL (POR) - Portland took a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute as Sinclair feathered a perfect ball over and behind the NC backline for Smith to race in on. Dribbling 1v1 with the 'keeper, Smith hit the ball with the outside of her right foot to score.

90+2' - SAVE (POR) - Bixby kept her clean sheet with another save as NC's Amy Rodriguez was free in on goal but the Portland netminder denied the attempt.

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The Thorns next travel to face the Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium on Sept. 25 (5pm PT, Paramount+).

Portland Thorns FC (11-4-2, 35pts) vs. North Carolina Courage (8-5-5, 29pts)
Sept. 12, 2021 – Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Smith (Sinclair), 57

Misconduct Summary:
NCC: Mathias (caution), 25
NCC: Roccaro (caution), 30
POR: Moultrie (caution), 88

Lineups:
POR: GK Bixby, D Westphal (Klingenberg, 63), D Menges (Sauerbrunn, 85), D Hubly, D Kuikka, M Rodríguez, M Salem, M Horan (Moultrie, 76), M Dunn, F Sinclair © (Weaver, 63), F S. Smith (Lussi, 84)

Substitutes Not Used: GK A. Smith, D Pogarch, M Ryan, M Everett

TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (S. Smith, 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (S. Smith, 5); FOULS: 8 (Dunn, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 6

NCC: GK Murphy, D Mathias (R. Williams, 81), D Kurtz, D Erceg ©, D Pickett, M Solaun (Speck, 61), M O’Sullivan (James, 88), M Roccaro (Smith, 81), M Debina, F McDonald (Rodriguez, 61), F L. Williams

Substitutes Not Used: GK Leshnak, D Caldwell, M Agnew, F Ratcliffe

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (L. Williams, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (L. Williams, 2); FOULS: 7 (Debinha, Mathias, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 7

Referee: Matt Franz
Assistant Referees: Deleana Quan, Jeremy Smith
4th Official: Alexandra Billeter
Attendance: 5,161
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial