NWSL RECAP | Thorns earn win, shutout in Houston


HOUSTON – Sophia Smith scored the quickest goal in club history, and the defense continued its stellar play, as the first-place Portland Thorns FC earned a hard-fought, 1-0, road win against the Houston Dash at BBVA Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Thorns became the first club this season to hand the Dash a loss at home. With the win, Portland extends its lead at the top of the table by five points. With its first home loss, Houston, who entered the night in third place, drops to fifth the tightly contested NWSL standings.

Now unbeaten in four straight, Portland has won six of its last eight contests.

The Thorns wasted little time in putting their mark on the game. Smith scored her fourth goal of the regular season just 32 seconds into the contest. It’s the quickest goal scored in Thorns history, just one second quicker than the previous record held by Jessica McDonald in 2014.

Defensively, the backline surrendered just two shots on goal against the Dash, as the Thorns picked up their league-best seventh shutout of the regular season. Goalkeeper Bella Bixby made a clutch save in second-half stoppage time, tipping a long-range shot over the crossbar.

Portland has allowed just four goals on the road all season, which ranks among the fewest in the NWSL.

The Thorns have a league-best three wins on the road.

Next up: The Thorns return home to play host to KC NWSL on Sunday, Aug. 1, at Providence Park; kickoff is 12 noon (Pacific). Tickets are available for purchase at

Goal-Scoring Plays

1’ (POR) – With a high line of pressure on the Dash, Simone Charley forced a turnover deep in Houston’s end. A quick pass from Marissa Everett sent Smith charging through the Dash penalty area and she scored her second goal in two games.


  • Sophia Smith scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season, tallying a goal for a second straight match.
  • The goal from Smith was the fastest goal in Thorns FC history at 32 seconds, besting the previous record off 33 seconds set by Jessica McDonald in 2014 on the road against the Chicago Red Stars.
  • Smith’s goal is the third fastest goal scored in NWSL history.
  • Portland has scored five of its 17 goals in the first five minutes of matches this season and eight in the first 30 minutes.
  • Thorns FC have scored six left-footed goals this season, which ranks as the second-most in the NWSL. Smith is tied for the league lead with three left-footed goals.
  • Portland recorded its seventh clean sheet of 2021, which leads the league.
  • Thorns FC have allowed just three goals in their last eight games, while posting six shutouts.
  • Portland is unbeaten in its last 11 regular-season matches against Houston with a record of 9-0-2. This is the second-longest unbeaten streak against a single opponent by Thorns FC in club history.
  • Thorns FC are unbeaten in their last five road matches against the Dash, posting a record of 4-0-1.
  • Portland is 5-1-3 all-time against Houston on the road. The team’s five road wins against the Dash are tied for the most against a single opponent.
  • Thorns FC recorded their ninth shutout against Houston, which is the most shutouts against a single NWSL team in club history.
  • Portland is the first team to earn a win at Houston this season.

Portland Thorns FC (7-3-1, 22pts) vs. Houston Dash (5-5-1, 16pts)
July 24, 2021 – BVVA Stadium (Houston, Texas)

Scoring Summary: P
POR: Smith, 1

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Salem (caution), 54
POR: Hubly (caution), 62
HOU: Ogle (caution), 64


POR: GK Bixby, D Kuikka, D Menges ©, D Hubly, D Klingenberg (Pogarch, 61), M Rodríguez, M Salem, M Boureille, M Everett (Westphal, 81), F Charley (Ryan, 71, Nally, 81), F Smith

Substitutes Not Used: GK Hogan, D Betfort, M Porter, M Moultrie, F Strom-Okimoto

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Smith, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 8 (Boureille, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2

HOU: GK Harris, D Hanson, D Oyster, D Naughton ©, D Fields (Blackwood, 84), M Seiler, M Ogle, M Groom, F Gomera-Stevens (Visalli, 51), F Latsko, F Spencer

Substitutes Not Used: GK Dennis, M Nairn, D A. Schmidt, F Rosa, M Hauksdóttir, M Privett

TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Groom, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Groom, Ogle, 1); FOULS: 9 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 2

Referee: Luis Guardia
Assistant Referees: Kali Smith, Maggie Short
4th Official: Ricardo Ocampo

Weather: Sunny, 95 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial