Thorns FC

RECAP | Portland Thorns shutout North Carolina Courage with 1-0 win

Final Score_PORvNCC_6.8.24
A clinical Sophia Smith PK in the 78th minute gives Portland all three points at home.

PORTLAND, Oregon (Saturday, June 8, 2024) – Portland Thorns (7-4-1, 22 points) earned a 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage thanks to a second-half PK goal from Sophia Smith and a shutout performance from Shelby Hogan and the team’s defense in front of 21,025 fans at Providence Park on Pride night.

Throughout much of the first half the two teams battled in the trenches of the midfield, alternating possession, with both sides struggling to find clear opportunities in front of goal. North Carolina had arguably the best opportunity in the 42nd minute, but a joint effort from goalkeeper Shelby Hogan and defender Marie Müller stopped Ashley Sanchez’ shot.

In first-half stoppage time, forward Sophia Smith looked to have the Thorns’ best chance at goal, rocketing off a one-touch shot, but North Carolina’s Casey Murphy was able to punch it away, leaving the match scoreless heading into the halftime break.

Defender Becky Suaerbrunn made history in the 57th minute, becoming the 8th player in National Women’s Soccer League history and the first member of the Portland Thorns to play 15,000 regular season minutes.

The second half proved to be a physical clash, with consistent start-stops making it difficult for either team to find their rhythm. Midfielder Olivia Moultrie looked to try her hand at goal in the 61st minute, weaving through several Courage defenders inside the penalty box, but her shot missed just wide of the near post.

In the 79th minute the Thorns finally broke the stalemate after Video Assisted Review awarded Portland a penalty kick for a foul on Hina Sugita inside the 18-yard-box. Smith stepped up to the spot and confidently slotted her kick into the back of the net, marking her ninth goal of the season. The foul on Sugita served as Ryan Williams’ second yellow of the match, leaving North Carolina with 10 players for the remainder of the game.

The Thorns would go on to hold onto the 1-0 lead, earning their seventh victory of the season.

UP NEXT: Portland Thorns FC are set to face their rivals, Seattle Reign, on Sunday, July 16 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The Thorns will look to win their second-consecutive win over Seattle, having previously earned a dominant 4-0 win early this season.

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

POR: Sophia Smith (PK) 79th minute: Following a foul on Hina Sugita inside the 18-yard-box, Portland was awarded a penalty kick, which Smith confidently placed into the back of the net.

LINEUPS:

Portland Thorns (4-3-3): Shelby Hogan, Nicole Payne (Reyna Reyes 67’), Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelli Hubly, Marie Müller, Hina Sugita, Sam Coffey (Janine Beckie 36’), Jessie Fleming (Izzy D’Aquila 90+7’), Olivia Moultrie, Sophia Smith (Olivia Wade-Katoa 90+7’), Payton Linnehan (Christien Sinclair 67’)

Subs not used: Emily Alvarado, Meaghan Nally, Ana Dias, Marissa Sheva

North Carolina Courage (3-4-3): Casey Murphy, Ryan Williams, Malia Berkely, Kaleigh Kurtz, Denise O’Sullivan, Meredith Speck (Brianna Pinto 65’), Narumi Miura, Ashley Sanchez (Victoria Pickett 82’), Tyler Lussi (Feli Rauch 82’), Bianca St. Georges, Haley Hopkins

Subs not used: Marisa Bova, Manaka Matsukubo, Riley Jackson, Dani Weatherholt, Landy Mertz, Jenna Winebrenner

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:NCC: Ryan Williams (caution) 26’

NCC: Denise O’Sullivan (caution) 66’

NCC Ryan Williams (ejection) 78’

POR: Sophia Smith (caution) 89’

POR: Sophia Smith (ejection) 90+12’

NCC: Narumi Miura (caution) 90+12’

Postgame Media Availability

Technical staff: Interim HC Rob Gale and goalkeepers coach Jordan Franken

Players: Defender Becky Sauerbrunn and defender Marie Müller