Thorns FC

NWSL RECAP | Thorns comeback bid undone in 3-2 loss to Dash


PORTLAND, Ore. – Goals from Christine Sinclair and Sophia Smith helped Portland Thorns FC erase a two-goal deficit, but Rachel Daly found the game winner in the 79th minute as the Houston Dash secured a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Providence Park.

Entering the night, the first-place Thorns (12-6-2, 38pts) needed a win or a draw to secure a 2021 NWSL Playoffs spot. The Dash (8-7-5, 28pts) spoiled that bid late in the match, and ended a six-match unbeaten streak for the Thorns at Providence Park.

The tying goal by Smith was her team-leading seventh goal of the regular season. Sinclair tallied her fifth goal of the campaign and midfielder Lindsey Horan assisted both goals for the Thorns.

In the first half, Houston jumped out to a two-goal lead by the 23rd minute on a penalty kick by Daly and a one-touch finish by Kristie Mewis. After a slow start, the Thorns – who feature one of the league’s top goal-scoring offenses – came alive. Sinclair pulled one back for Portland in the 30th minute, as the Thorns finished the half with an 11-5 edge in shots.

Smith found her second goal in three games just before the hour mark to pull the Thorns even, 2-2. With a defender on her back, Smith calmly received a pass from Horan and scored from inside the box.

The Thorns had their chances all throughout the second half, finishing the night having out-shot the Dash 26-12.

In the sixth minute, the two clubs — players both on the field and from the bench – stopped play for a minute to stand shoulder-to-shoulder around the center circle.


Next match: The Thorns head on the road to take on KC NWSL on Sunday, Oct. 10, at Legends Field. Kickoff on Sunday is 2 p.m. (Pacific), and the match will feature a broadcast on Paramount+.

Goal-Scoring Plays

18’ – HOU – Thorns defender Becky Sauerbrunn was called for a foul in the box. Daly converted the penalty kick.

23’ – HOU – Starting with a Dash free kick, the ball was knocked in and out of the box before a chipped pass fell to Mewis on the door step and she redirected the ball into the back of the net.

30’ – POR – A cross from Horan on the right side, deep in the offensive third found an on-rushing Sinclair near the top of the six.

57’ – POR – Horan played Smith into the area. With a defender on her back Smith calmly snuck a shot by Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell to level the score.

79’ – HOU – Daly scored her second goal of the night, heading in the go-ahead goal off a short cross.


  • In NWSL regular season action, Thorns FC are 12-3-3 against the Dash and 7-2-0 at Providence Park. 
  • Portland leads the league in goals scored with 31.
  • Sinclair scored her fifth goal of the 2021 campaign.
  • Sinclair has now scored in back to back games, and contributed to a goal in three straight games (2 goals, 1 assist).
  • Sinclair remains Portland’s all-time leading goal-scorer (54).
  • Smith scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
  • Smith has contributed to a goal in four straight matches at Providence Park, with three goals and one assist.
  • In 2021, five of Smith’s seven goals have been scored in home matches and four of Sinclair’s five goals this season have come at Providence Park.
  • Horan recorded two assists on the night, putting her in a tie with Meghan Klingenberg for most on the team this season (3).
  • In nine career matches against the Dash, Horan has tallied five goals and three assists.
  • Portland has scored in 11 consecutive regular-season matches against Houston, including two or more goals in seven of those matches.
  • The loss was Portland’s first in a regular-season match against the Dash since 2016.

Portland Thorns FC (12-6-2, 38pts) vs. Houston Dash (8-7-5, 29pts) 
Oct. 6, 2021 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Scoring Summary: 
HOU: Daly (penalty kick), 18
HOU: Mewis (Hanson), 23
POR: Sinclair (Horan), 30 
POR: S. Smith (Horan), 57
HOU: Daly, 79

Misconduct Summary: 
POR: Sauerbrunn (caution), 17
POR: Horan (caution), 56

POR: GK Bixby, D Kuikka, D Menges, D Sauerbrunn, D Klingenberg (Charley, 89), M Salem (Ryan, 63), M Horan, M Rodríguez, M Sinclair ©, F Weaver (Dunn, 63), F S. Smith

Substitutes Not Used: GK A. Smith, D Hubly, M Everett, M Boureille, M Moultrie, F Lussi

TOTAL SHOTS: 26 (Sophia Smith, 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Sinclair, 3); FOULS: 12 (Klingenberg, Rodríguez, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 2

HOU: GK Campbell, D Dahlkemper, D Hanson, D Chapman, D Naughton, M Groom (Seiler, 53), M Schmidt, M Mewis, F Daly ©, F Prince, F Visalli (Oyster, 90+2)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Harris, M Hauksdóttir, F Alozie, F Gomera-Stevens, F Abam

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Daly, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Daly, 3); FOULS: 8 (Mewis, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 7

Referee: Natalie Simon
Assistant Referees: Kali Simon, Melissa Gonzalez
4th Official: Jaclyn Metz
Attendance: 11,139
Weather: Chance of showers, 61 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial