Thorns FC

NOTEBOOK | Thorns’ Rodríguez leads Costa Rica to Concacaf W Championship tournament


Three games. Three victories. Portland Thorns FC players closed out the April international window on a winning note on Tuesday. Rocky Rodríguez, Natalia Kuikka and Sophia Smith all featured for their respective countries in winning performances across the globe.

Rodríguez, Costa Rica heading to Concacaf W Championship

To have a chance at upcoming World Cup qualification, Costa Rica needed to hold off Guatemala in their group at the Concacaf W Qualifiers. Not only did they accomplish that goal but made a statement in a 5-0 victory over Guatemala on April 12, at Estadio Nacional in San José, Costa Rica.

The team’s captain: our own Rocky Rodríguez.

Rodríguez had a standout performance throughout the qualifiers. She played in all four games and ranked among team leaders with SIX goals, including a hat trick against Curaçao last week. During the qualifiers she scored in three straight matches.

Costa Rica finished atop Group B of the Concacaf W Qualifiers with a record of 4-0-0 (12pts). They will now compete as one of eight teams in the Concacaf W Championship tournament this summer.

Kuikka helps Finland shutout Georgia

Continuing with World Cup qualification. Thorns defender Natalia Kuikka started against for Finland on Tuesday against Georgia in UEFA World Cup Qualifying. Kuikka helped keep a clean sheet as Finland cruised to a 6-0 victory at at Bolt Arena in Helsinki.

Kuikka has featured in both of Finland’s matches during this international window, contributing to this win against Georgia and a draw against Slovakia. With those four points from the last two games, Finland is now second in its group with a record of 3-2-1 (10pts) and inches closer to Ireland (19pts) at the top of the group.

Kuikka and her backline teammates allowed only one goal over the team’s last two games.

Another big win for USA, Smith

To round out the three games this week, Thorns FC forward Sophia Smith started again for the United States in a second straight friendly against Uzbekistan. The USWNT put up nine goals for a second straight match in a 9-0 win at Subaru Park in Chester, Pa.

Smith played 68 minutes; it was her 18th cap.