LOUISVILLE, KY. - Two goals and a bevy of second-half saves turned out to be enough for the Portland Thorns FC to extend its unbeaten streak to nine games in as they defeated Racing Louisville FC 2-1 Friday night at Lynn Family Stadium.

Sophia Smith opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes and Hina Sugita scored the winner in the final 15 as the Thorns leapfrogged San Diego Wave FC into first place in the NWSL.

Match Moments

3' - CHANCE (POR) - Smith nearly put the Thorns up in the opening moments of Friday's match. The forward who reached scintillating form ahead of the international window nearly pulled something out of her hat again, cutting in from outside the box and firing a shot that forced a near-post save from Louisville keeper Katie Lund.

7' - GOAL (POR) - Following her near miss minutes earlier, Smith announced to the NWSL that she is well and truly back with a beautiful solo goal to give Portland an early 1-0 lead. The striker weaved past defenders down the left side before tucking her shot into the bottom far corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season.

29' - GOAL (LOU) - Racing Louisville pulled level midway through the first half behind a bit of brilliance by Alex Chidiak. The midfielder reached the endline and tucked a shot away near post at a near impossible angle to tie the score at 1-1.

35' - CHANCE (POR) - The Thorns nearly pulled back on top five minutes later. After finding space in midfield, Sugita found Morgan Weaver down the left side who played a ball into Olivia Moultrie in the box. The ball reached Moultrie, but her shot flew inches wide of the post.

43' - CHANCE (POR) - Trying to make something happen in transition, Smith reached the byline and delivered a ball into the box that eventually found the feet of Moultrie, but Lund corralled her curling effort.

52' - SAVE (POR) - Louisville tested Portland early in the second half. A high cross from the right corner found the head of Jess McDonald, who put her shot on frame, forcing Bella Bixby to leap up and push the ball away with a single outstretched arm.

67' - CHANCE (POR) - Smith nearly caught Louisville on the back foot, firing a shot from outside the area that flashed through the box before going out wide of the far post.

69' - SAVE (POR) - Called into action once again, Bixby got both hands to a driven shot taken from outside the box by Emily Fox.

74' - GOAL (POR) - In the right place at the right time, Sugita put the Thorns back on top with just a quarter hour remaining in the match. Lund got a strong hand to a stinging outside-the-box effort from Rocky Rodríguez, but pushed it into an empty box where the Japanese international pounced to put the visitors ahead 2-1.

83' - SAVE(s) (POR) - Bixby stepped up a third time in the second half, ensuring the Thorns maintained their late one-goal lead. Starting down McDonald one-on-one, the keeper guessed right to get a hand to the forward's attempted shot. Second later, Bixby corralled Jaelin Howell's towering header off the ensuing corner to snuff the opportunity out.

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Portland welcomes its international players back home and looks to extend its unbeaten streak to 10 when it hosts the North Carolina Courage on Aug. 5 at Providence Park (7:30 p.m. PT, TICKETS, CBS Sports Network).

Notes:

  • Portland is unbeaten in its last nine matches overall, posting a record of 5-0-4.
  • Thorns FC have scored multiple goals in eight of their last nine matches.
  • Portland is the only unbeaten team on the road this season in the NWSL, improving 2-0-4.
  • Thorns FC have scored a league-best 13 goals on the road this season.
  • Portland has not lost on the road in NWSL regular season play since Sept. 25, 2021.
  • Sophia Smith has goal or an assist (7g, 2a) in her last six matches for Portland. 
  • Smith recorded her ninth goal of the season and the 16th of her Thorns FC career.
  • With 16 goals, Smith now ranks fourth all-time in career goals scored for Portland.
  • Smith’s nine goals are tied for fourth-most in a single season in club history.
  • Smith has scored in each of her last four road appearances, tallying five goals.
  • Smith’s five goals on the road are tied for the most in the NWSL this season with Alex Morgan.
  • Hina Sugita tallied her fourth goal of the season. Three of her four goals have come on the road.
  • Sugita joins Smith and Christine Sinclair as one of three players with at least four goals for Thorns FC in 2022.
  • Morgan Weaver registered an assist for a second straight match.
  • Weaver recorded her second assist of the season. She is the seventh player to record multiple assists for Portland this campaign.
  • Tegan McGrady made her Thorns FC debut, playing 45 minutes as a substitute. 
  • Portland improved to 3-0-0 all-time against Racing Louisville.
  • Thorns FC have outscored Louisville by a margin of 7-1 in their three meetings. 
  • Kelli Hubly and Hina Sugita are the only two players to appear in every match this season for Portland.
  • Hubly is the only player to start every match for Thorns FC, playing every minute of the first 13 matches.

Portland Thorns FC (6-1-6, 24pts) vs. Racing Louisville FC (2-6-5, 11pts)
July 29, 2022 – Lynn Family Stadium (Louisville, Ky.)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Smith (Weaver), 7
LOU: Chidiac (Howell), 29
POR: Sugita, 74

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Sauerbrunn (caution), 21
LOU: Murray (caution), 76
POR: Weaver (caution), 80
LOU: Nadim (caution), 89

Lineups:
POR: GK Bixby, D Kuikka (McGrady, 45), D Sauerbrunn ©, D Hubly, D Nally, M Porter (Coffey, 45), M Sugita, M Moultrie (Rodríguez, 69), F Ryan, F S. Smith (Everett, 85), F Weaver (Vasconcelos, 92)

Substitutes Not Used: GK A. Smith, D Klingenberg, D Provenzano, F Betfort

TOTAL SHOTS: 25 (S. Smith, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (S. Smith, 2); FOULS: 11 (Weaver, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 6

LOU: GK Lund, D Milliet, D Bonner ©, D Muray (Lester, 78), D Fox, M Olofsson (Wyne, 78), M Howell, M DeMelo, F Nadim, F Chidic (Ekic, 79), F McDonald

Substitutes Not Used: GK Beall, GK Bloomer, D Martin, M Malham, F Davis, F Goins

TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (McDonald, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (McDonald, 3); FOULS: 12 (4, Nadim); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4

Referee: Alyssa Nichols
Assistant Referees: Jessica Carnevale, Chris Schurfranz
Fourth Official: Youssef Elmessoussi
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees
Attendance: 7,089

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial