Thorns FC

PREVIEW | Thorns and Courage go to battle in Raleigh

Portland and NC battle for first time this season; kickoff set for 4pm PT. Get your notes, numbers and a preview on Saturday's matchup.

The Portland Thorns go cross-country for a showdown with North Carolina Courage on Saturday, at WakeMed Soccer Park; kickoff is 4pm PT. A live broadcast of Saturday's match is available on NWSL+, the league's streaming platform.

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Portland (13th, 0-2-1, 1pt) and North Carolina (3rd, 2-1-0, 6pts) will go to battle for the first time this season, the first of two meetings this year. After a week off for the international break, the Thorns will look to summon the second-half energy they showed in their dramatic come-from-behind draw against Louisville just a couple weeks ago – down 0-2 in the first half, Morgan Weaver and Sam Coffey put their capes on for the heroic 2-2 draw.

Thorns at Courage | Everything you need to know ↓

The Opponent: North Carolina Courage (3rd, 2-1-0, 6pts)

Currently third in the NWSL table, the Courage welcome Portland to Raleigh in incredible home form. The Courage have two wins from two matches at WakeMed Soccer Park this season. With a +5 goal differential at home - thanks to a 5-1, season-opening win over Houston and the 1-0 victory over Gotham - proves once again that facing North Carolina will be a challenge when they're the hosts.

Led on the attack by their scoring leader Bianca St. Georges and new dynamic playmaker Ashley Sanchez, North Carolina has the talent to defend their home turf. In fact, St. Georges currently ranks first in the league in goals per 90 minutes at 1.55, meaning she makes the most of her time on the field, whether she goes full-90 or not. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy has held it down between the sticks as she enters her fourth season with the Courage, having only allowed three goals through 270 minutes of action – good for fourth-best in the league. Head coach Sean Nahas has deployed a classic 4-3-3 formation in each of their matches this season.

Notes & Numbers


Saturday's match marks the 25th all-time meeting between Portland and North Carolina. Portland currently trails in the head-to-head series with a record of 9-11-4.

Last 5

In their last five encounters, the series has been very evenly matched, with some high-scoring affairs. A total of 19 goals have been scored in those matches. The two sides have split the last five matches, with a record of 1-1-3.


Fresh off an MVP-performance at the 2024 SheBelieves Cup final, forward Sophia Smith is back to club duties. Smith has contributed a goal or an assist in four of the last six matches against the Courage. Smith has been one of North Carolina's nemesis, in part due to her four goals and one assist in six career matches against the Courage.


Sam Coffey has powered-through for the Thorns during the 2024 season. She currently leads the club in accurate passes (52.6) and leads both club and league in accurate long balls (6.7) per 90 minutes.