NWSL MATCH RECAP | North Carolina Courage 2, Portland Thorns FC 1

CARY, N.C. – Portland Thorns FC conceded a pair of first-half goals and were unable to overcome the two-goal deficit, falling 2-1 to the North Carolina Courage on Sunday afternoon at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Lindsey Horan tallied an early second-half goal for Portland, her league-leading 10th of the season, while Caitlin Foord made her Thorns FC debut in the match.

Horan form
Horan recorded her 10th goal of the season in the match. In her last six games, Horan has tallied six goals, including a goal in each of the last three matches in which she has appeared for Portland. With the goal, Horan is just the third player in Thorns FC history to record double-digit goals in a single season. Her 10 goals on the season is tied for the NWSL lead with North Carolina’s Lynn Williams.

Playoff picture
Portland (8-6-5) entered the weekend tied for third place in the NWSL standings with the Orlando Pride on 29 points. Thorns FC remain among the top four, one point ahead of the Chicago Red Stars (28pts) in fifth place with five games remaining on their regular-season schedule.

In the air
Thorns FC recorded their seventh header goal of the season in the match, which ranks tied as the second-most in the NWSL in 2018 as Horan tallied her fifth headed goal. Over the past three seasons, Portland has recorded more headed goals (25) than any team in the league.

Key plays
The Courage opened the scoring with a goal on the counter-attack in the 37th minute. Debinha played the ball out wide on the right side for Jessica McDonald and she slotted a cross into the center of the box. Williams arrived with a late run and directed the ball inside the left post.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made a key stop late in the first half. On a North Carolina corner kick, midfielder McCall Zerboni redirected a flicked-on header with her back to goal, heading the ball down towards the left post, but Franch dove to her right to parry the attempt away and pounced on the loose ball in the 41st minute.

North Carolina doubled its lead in the 45th minute. Defender Merritt Mathias delivered a cross from the right edge of the box. Emily Menges attempted to clear the ball, but it deflected off Celeste Boureille and the ball landed at the feet of Williams, who hit a low shot that took a deflection and trickled over the line just inside the right post.

Menges made a solid defensive play deep in first-half stoppage time. McDonald dribbled into the box for the Courage and cut the ball back towards the center of goal, firing a shot towards the left corner of goal, but Menges stepped in front to block the attempt.

Thorns FC cut their deficit to one goal in the 49th minute as Horan tallied her 10th goal of the season. Hayley Raso helped earn Portland a free kick just outside the box on the right wing. Tobin Heath delivered pinpoint cross for Horan and she delivered a powerful header in stride past North Carolina goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland.

Franch kept Portland within striking distance with save on a low, hard strike from the edge of the box by Sam Mewis as she dove to her right to push the ball wide of the post in the 65th minute.

Searching for the equalizer, Heath and Christine Sinclair combined near the edge of the box. Sinclair played a pass to Foord running down the left side of the box and she fired a shot from inside the box in the 71st minute, forcing a save by Rowland.


  • Lindsey Horan tallied her 10th goal of the season, which is tied for the NWSL lead with North Carolina’s Lynn Williams.
  • Caitlin Foord made her Thorns FC debut, entering the match in the 58th minute. It was Foord’s first NWSL appearance since she played for Sky Blue FC in 2015.
  • Horan is the third player in Thorns FC history to score double-digits goals in a single season.
  • Tobin Heath tallied her fourth assist of the season, including two assists in her last three matches. Two of her four assists have come on goals by Horan.
  • Portland has scored seven headed goals this season and five of those have been scored by Horan, who leads the NWSL in headed goals.
  • With her goal, Horan has now tallied 42 career points for Thorns FC, moving into third place on the club’s all-time career list.
  • Horan is the fastest player to 10 goals in a season for Portland, reaching the mark in just 17 matches.

Next Game
Remaining on the road, Thorns FC square off against the Orlando Pride on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Orlando City Stadium. The Aug. 11 match kicks off at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) and features a live web stream available at www.nwslsoccer.com and on the NWSL app.

Portland Thorns FC (8-6-5, 29pts) vs. North Carolina Courage (15-1-4, 49pts)
Aug. 5, 2018 – Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
Portland Thorns FC       0          1          1
North Carolina Courage 2          0          2

Scoring Summary: 
NCC: Williams (McDonald), 37
NCC: Williams, 45
POR: Horan (Heath), 49

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Sonnett (caution), 45+2
POR: Foord (caution), 81

POR: GK Franch, D Purce (Ball, 69), D Sonnett, D Menges, D Klingenberg, M Boureille, M Horan, M Raso (Andressinha, 73), M Sinclair ©, M Heath, F Crnogorcevic (Foord, 58)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Eckerstrom, D Hubly, F Lussi, F Weber

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Horan, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Foord, Horan, 1); FOULS: 10 (Foord, 4), OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 8

NCC: GK Rowland, D Mathias, D Erceg ©, D Dahlkemper, D Hinkle, M O’Sullivan, M Zerboni, M Mewis (Dunn, 78), M Debinha (Hamilton, 85), F Williams, F McDonald

Substitutes Not Used: GK D’Angelo, D Kurtz, D Speck, M O’Reilly, F Jenkins

TOTAL SHOTS: 31 (Williams, 10); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Williams, 4); FOULS: 10 (Debinha, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1

Referee: Michael Radchuk
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Wooten, Ben Pilgrim
4th Official: Hicham El Bariqi
Attendance: 5,379
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial