Match Recap

Sophia Smith scores a hat trick and the Thorns crush the Current

The Portland Thorns continued their dominant form in a 1-4 thrashing at Kansas City Current.


"Why fix something thats not broken?" Mike Norris probably, when preparing the starting 11 for the matchup at Children's Mercy Park. In what seemed like a replay of the season opener's first half, the Thorns visit to Kansas City again started with a bang.

Just 180 seconds after the initial whistle, Crystal Dunn let it be known who the most dangerous club in the league is. Receiving a short corner kick from Sam Coffey, Dunn controlled the ball masterfully before juking a defender and with the space created blasting a right-footer past Adrianna Franch. Crystal Dunn tallied her first goal of the season, becoming the 5th scorer for Portland so far.

15 minutes later Portland earned the possibility to go up by two. Making a run in the box, Sophia Smith hit the ground following contact by the KC defender, causing her to lose her footing. The referee made no hesitation and pointed to the spot. After a couple minutes of VAR review, Smith took it upon herself to bury the confirmed penalty kick, going hard and low to Franch's right.

In absolutely dominant fashion, the first half was the Thorns show. Controlling possession, outshooting the Current, and heading strongly into the locker room with a 0-2 lead.

The second half brought a bigger test for Portland. In a change of pace, the KC Current became more aggressive, mounting various offensive runs that tested the backline and Bella Bixby. KC forward Cecilia Kizer threatened the Thorns goal on a few occasions, sending shot after shot over the crossbar and just wide of goal. In the 59th minute Kizer would capitalize, landing a header past Bixby from a set-play. It was the first goal conceded in 2023, opening a match in a second half that was much more contested than the first.

Bella Bixby would be tested again just six minutes later. A powerful free kick went straight to Bixby's lower right, but the 27-year-old calmly dove and secured the ball, preserving the lead.

In what had become a back and forth encounter in the second half, it was the reigning MVP that put the victory on ice in the 82nd. In an incredible run down the left flank, Smith out-dribbled three different defenders before taking a low grass-cutting shot that megged a fourth defender and rolled past a diving Franch into the back of the net.

HIGHLIGHTS | Kansas City Current vs. Portland Thorns | April 1, 2023

If the brace so far was not enough to cement her bid for back-to-back MVPs, she made a statement in the 87th. On the attack in KC's final third, Smith cut-right on a defender and buried a right-footed shot from outside the box, to secure the hat-trick and further assure the three points on the road.

A 1-4 final score in favor of the Thorns at full time, the defending champions continue their run of incredible form. +7 goal differential through the initial two games of the season, back to back wins, and a first Sophia Smith hat-trick is the talk of the league. Smith now also leads the golden boot race with four goals.

Smith summarized it exquisitely in a post-match interview with former Thorn Lianne Sanderson when asked about her and the team's form.

"I'll do whatever the game needs from me, whatever my team needs from me," she said. "I try to stay grounded, to stay present. It's an exciting team, this group is really special, even more than last year".

Portland returns home for a bye week before welcoming Houston to the confines of Providence Park on April 14.