Of the 12 clubs that make up the National Women's Soccer League, Portland Thorns FC tops the list of goals scored in league history.
Eight players have reached double-digit career goals with the Thorns and countless others have contributed to the 283 total goals the club has racked up in just over nine full seasons of play.
From Christine Sinclair to Nadia Nadim, the second installment of “Thorns Honoring 10” dives into 10 of the club’s most prominent goal scorers and go back through some memorable moments.
This list is not a ranking, but instead an organized list of players who make a case to be included as among the club’s most prominent scorers.
Total Goals: 55 and counting
As soccer’s all-time top international goal scorer (189 goals for Canada), it only makes sense that Christine Sinclair tops the list for her club team as well. With 55 goals through 10 seasons, including the first in Thorns history, Sinclair has been as reliable as it gets in the NWSL.
While not flashy, Sinclair’s clinical efficiency speaks for itself. She has scored many goals by pouncing on missed shots in and around the box, but the Canadian also isn’t afraid to chip an opposing keeper when she has the opportunity.
Sinclair netted the first hat trick in club history during a comeback 4-3 victory against the Boston Breakers in July 2014 and has led Portland in goals in four of the club’s 10 seasons, tallying nine in the 2019. She looks to add to her total in 2022.
Total Goals: 15
While her time in Portland was short, Nadia Nadim left a mark in Portland as an important part of both the club’s 2016 NWSL Shield run and 2017 NWSL Championship-winning campaign. A constant presence in the box, Nadim’s nine goals in 2016 led the team.
Out of her 15 goals, Nadim’s most memorable came against the Reign in 2016. With several starters competing in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Nadim headed home a 75th minute game-winning goal before being mobbed by her teammates.
Total Goals: 12
While better known for her dazzling assists and ability to freeze any defender with the ball at her feet, Tobin Heath was never afraid to attempt the spectacular during her several seasons in Portland.
Her free kick goal in the 2013 NWSL Championship helped ensure Portland its first piece of silverware and she scored countless other goals on set pieces as well as with her spur-of-the-moment creativity. Not everything Heath tried ended in the back of the net, but Heath is certainly worthy of a spot on this list thanks to her countless highlight-worthy goals alone.
Total Goals: 8
While she played all over the field, Midge Purce had a knack for finding the back of the net during her two seasons with the Thorns. Her first goal helped Portland take down Sky Blue on the road. Then, in a five-consecutive week stretch in summer 2019, Purce led the club while several players competed in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
Seasons: 2016-current (on loan at Lyon)
Total Goals: 25
Lindsey Horan rarely played up top as a Thorn, but that never stopped her from racking up a large goal total as a midfielder. The 14 goals she scored across the regular season and playoffs in her 2018 NWSL MVP season still stands as a club record for goals in a single season.
Horan scored several goals in impressive fashion, such as with volleys, but many of them came with her head. One of Portland’s most dangerous set-piece targets, she frequently made opponents pay when gifted a free header.
Horan’s most memorable goal won the Thorns an NWSL title. With the score tied at zero, the ball reached her wide open at the back post, where she fired a quick shot into the roof of the net at the near post.
Total Goals: 12
Hayley Raso never led the Thorns in scoring during her time in the Pacific Northwest, but she was always a reliable contributor from the wing throughout the club’s most successful seasons.
With her trademark red ribbon, it was hard to miss Raso and her blazing speed out wide. In 2017 the Australian international netted a brace as Portland took down the Reign 2-1 at Memorial Stadium, its first-ever win in Seattle. A month earlier, her 70th minute goal helped the Thorns take down a top-of-the-table North Carolina team.
Raso may not go down as the most ruthless scorer in club history, but she grew each season in Portland and will certainly be remembered for the role that she played in the Thorns’ title-winning seasons.
Total Goals: 30
Joining the Thorns in their first season, Allie Long netted 30 goals for the club in five seasons of work. She led Portland in scoring with 10 goals in 2015 and was named to the NWSL’s Best XI in 2015 and 2016. Even five years after Long left the club, she remains the second-highest goalscorer in Thorns history.
Total Goals: 15
Between injuries and national team call-ups, Alex Morgan only suited up for the Thorns 36 times, but it’s hard to keep her off this list because of her efficiency alone. She scored a goal in nearly 50% of the games she played, including one in the Thorns’ 2-1 win against the Reign in their inaugural home opener.
Total Goals: 11
Jessica McDonald spent just one season with the Thorns but made every game count. Her presence in the box proved vital, especially as Alex Morgan recovered from an ankle injury suffered with the U.S. Women’s National Team, and her goal :33 seconds into a game against Chicago is one of the earliest goals in club history. McDonald tallied a team-high 11 goals in 2014, helping Portland reach the NWSL Playoffs that season.
Total Goals: 9 and counting
Drafted first overall in the 2020 NWSL Draft, Sophia Smith has all the traits of a historic goal scorer. Her seven goals in 2021 led the team and she already has five goals this season between the 2022 Challenge Cup and regular season.
Brimming with confidence and unafraid to try new things, Smith has scored everywhere from yards outside the box to with her head from close range. The youngest name on this list, if Smith keeps up her current goal scoring pace, she’ll find her name near the top sooner rather than later.