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

Britt Eckerstrom, Thorns at North Carolina Courate, 06.15.19

CARY, N.C. – Playing their seventh road game in their first eight matches, Portland Thorns FC earned a hard-fought, 1-1 draw against the North Carolina Courage at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday night. Midge Purce scored for a third consecutive match to help Thorns FC secure the road point.

Road results
With the draw, Portland (4-1-3, 15pts) has earned at least one point from six of its seven road matches, while tallying 14 goals away from home in 2019. Additionally, it marked the first time Thorns FC have earned a point on the road against North Carolina. Dating back to the conclusion of the 2018 campaign, Portland has posted a record of 5-1-3 on the road.

Purce form
Purce tallied her team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 26th minute of the match. Purce has now scored in three consecutive matches, including consecutive road matches. Her four goals leads the team and ranks third in the NWSL.

Thorns FC firsts
Kelli Hubly and Madison Pogarch made their first starts of the 2019 season in the match. For Hubly, it marked her first appearance of the campaign. Additionally, Emily Ogle made her professional debut in the match, becoming the fifth player to make her professional debut in 2019 for Thorns FC. Additionally, Celeste Boureille recorded her first career assist with Portland.

Key plays
Thorns FC nearly took advantage of an early turnover in the fifth minute when North Carolina’s Jaelene Hinkle lost the ball. Simone Charley picked up the loose ball and dribbled into the box, but Cari Roccaro tracked back to made the tackle to push the ball out for a corner kick.

Charley again took advantage of a Courage turnover in the first half. Intercepting a pass just outside North Carolina’s box, Charley dribbled toward goal and fired a shot from the edge of the box that was blocked and deflected just wide of the right post in the 24th minute.

Purce scored for a third straight match to give Portland a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. Boureille played a looping pass over the backline into space for Purce, who hit a one-time shot off the bounce with the inside of her foot from the edge of the box into the net over North Carolina goalkeeper Sam Leshnak coming off her line.

Pushing for a second goal, Thorns FC took advantage of a set piece in the 39th minute. Elizabeth Ball served a ball from near midfield to the edge of the box. Charley flicked the ball on for Purce, who fired a shot from close range, but Leshnak was able to get a hand to the attempt.

North Carolina leveled the match in the 59th minute. On the counter-attack, Merritt Mathias played a long ball to the edge of the box and Julia Spetsmark won the ball, sending a chipped shot into the goal.

Portland prevented the Courage from taking the lead in the 66th minute of the match. After Spetsmark’s initial shot hit the post, Thorns FC goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom punched the ball away and then made a diving save at point-blank range to deny Kristen Hamilton.

Next match
Thorns FC return home to play host to Utah Royals FC on Friday, June 21, at Providence Park. Beginning at 8 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be broadcast on Yahoo! Sports.


  • Portland has earned at least one point in six of its seven road matches in 2019.
  • Purce scored a goal for a third consecutive game. She has also scored in consecutive road matches.
  • The goal was Purce’s fourth of the season, which leads the team and ranks third in the NWSL.
  • Boureille tallied her first career assist with Thorns FC. She is the seventh player to record an assist for Portland this season.
  • Pogarch made her first professional start in her second appearance for Thorns FC in 2019.
  • Hubly earned her first start, making her first appearance of the 2019 season in the match.
  • Ogle made her professional debut in the match. Ogle is the fifth player to make their professional debut for Thorns FC in 2019.

Portland Thorns FC (4-1-3, 15pts) vs. North Carolina Courage (3-2-4, 13pts)
June 15, 2019 – Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)

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

Scoring Summary:
POR: Purce (Boureille), 26
NCC: Spetsmark (Mathias), 59

Misconduct Summary:
NCC: Kurtz (caution), 19
POR: Lussi (caution), 63

POR: GK Eckerstrom, D Pogarch (Ogle, 73), D Ball, D Reynolds, D Hubly (Everett, 84), D Klingenberg ©, M Boureille, M Seiler, M Crnogorcevic, F Purce, F Charley (Lussi, 62)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, M Byrne

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Purce, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Purce, 2); FOULS: 10 (Three players tied, 3), OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 5

NCC: GK Leshnak, D R. Williams (Spetsmark, 46), D Roccaro, D Kurtz, D Hinkle, M Mathias, M O’Sullivan, M Hamilton, M Zerboni ©, M L. Williams, F Pruitt (Meehan, 90)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Rowland, D Haran, M Speck, M Milliet, M Horgan

TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Spetsmark, 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Spetsmark, 4); FOULS: 8 (Meehan, 2); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 2

Referee: Tori Penso
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Tiffini Turpin
4th Official: Gustavo Solorio
Attendance: 6,172
Weather: Sunny, 82 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial