Match Recap

Thorns defeat Angel City FC in 3-2 thriller at Providence Park

Morgan Weaver scores stoppage-time winner to give Thorns FC all three points in 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup victory.

Six weeks after their first UKG NWSL Challenge Cup match in San Diego, the Portland Thorns FC welcomed a different Southern California club to Providence Park, playing host to Angel City FC on Wednesday night.

For Portland, the objective was simple: get a result. That they did, via a 93rd minute game-winning Morgan Weaver flick.

The Thorns took the fight to Angel City as soon as the initial whistle blew. Canadian winger Adrianna Leon knocked on Brittany Isenhour's goal early, with a dangerous first-attempt in front of goal that went just wide-right in the 10th minute.

The Thorns pressure would not let up, and they were rewarded in the 24th minute. Michele Vasconcelos scored her second competitive goal of the year and Portland's first goal in the 2023 Challenge Cup. A play that generated from rookie forward Izzy D'Aquila down the right wing, she sent a curling cross into the box where an oncoming Vasconcelos beat Isenhour to the bounce. Vasconcelos' quick header found its way into the back of the net to give Portland the lead.

Portland would hold onto the 1-0 lead heading into halftime, despite 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Angel City's advances over the final 15 minutes of first-half play.

In the second half, the Thorns capitalized on the first opportunity they had, and doubled their lead just a minute following the restart. Their second goal of the night arrived via a set-piece play from the left wing, with Olivia Moultrie delivering her third assist of 2023. Moultrie dropped a dime into the six-yard box, it's placement leaving the ball up for grabs as it came in. Showing her goalscorer instinct, the Thorns' first-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, Izzy D'Aquila pounced on the ball before anyone else and gave it the slightest of nudges to push it past Isenhour. Like that Portland was two goals beyond.

Like in the first half, Angel City increased the pressure offensively following the Thorns goal.

In the 61st minute, Clarisse Le Bihan brought the visitors within one with a well-struck shot from the semi-circle, unreachable for Thorns goalkeeper Shelby Hogan. Five minutes later, LA would bring the score level from the penalty spot. What at first glance appeared to be a solid defensive clearance by Hogan, her run out of position and subsequent tackle of Alyssa Thompson was reviewed by VAR. Referee Adorae Monroy pointed to the spot after a brief check and Claire Emslie capitalized for Angel City from 12 steps away.

All even at 2-2, with under 25 minutes left in the match, both clubs went all-in for all three points. The Thorns called forward Morgan Weaver in the 69th minute and the 2022 NWSL MVP Sophia Smith in the 80th minute into the game in hopes of finding a game-winner.

It came in the second minute of stoppage time. After a flurry of rebound in the Angel City box, the ball landed at Christine Sinclair's feet from just inside the 18. Her careful floater into the center of the box was quickly flicked mid-air by Morgan Weaver. Her redirection enough to put the ball past Isenhour's reach, Providence Park went berserk.

As red smoke filled the north end for the third time on the night, referee Monroy blew for full-time, securing Portland's first points in the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup. The win puts the Thorns tied for second place in the West Division. The Thorns' next Challenge Cup match is scheduled for June 28 vs. OL Reign at Providence Park; kickoff is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).

Portland Thorns FC (1-1-0, 3pts) vs. Angel City FC (0-2-1, 1pt)

(NWSL Challenge Cup)
May 31, 2023 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Vasconcelos (D’Aquila), 23
POR: D’Aquila (Moultrie), 46
ACFC: Le Bihan (Camberos), 61 
ACFC: Emslie (penalty kick), 66
POR: Weaver (Sinclair), 90+3 

Misconduct Summary:
ACFC: Spencer (caution), 73
POR: Nally (caution), 87

POR: GK Hogan, D Klingenberg (Kuikka, 46), D Menges (Provenzano, 46), D Nally, D Reyes, M Sinclair, M Porter, M Moultrie, F Vasconcelos (Weaver, 69), F D'Aquila (Smith, 80), F Leon (Betfort, 46)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bixby, D McGrady, M Sugita, M Coffey

TOTAL SHOTS: 25 (D’Aquila, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (D’Aquila, 3); FOULS: 6 (six players tied, 1); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: 5

ACFC: GK Isenhour, D Riley (Spencer, 57), D Reid, D Gorden, D Hammond (Ertz, 79), M Weatherholt (Nielsen, 57), M Nabet, M Le Bihan, F Emslie, F Camberos (Pluck, 79), F Thompson (Johnson, 71)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Haracic, GK Anderson, M McCaskill, F Leroux

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Thompson, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (three players tied, 1); FOULS: 13 (Le Bihan, 4); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 1

Referee: Adorae Monroy 
Assistant Referees: MIke Nickerson, Jacob Little 
Fourth Official: Mike Hohnholz 
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees
Attendance: 16,429

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial