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Thorns lose 2-0 on the road to the North Carolina Courage

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Lynn Williams scores twice to end the Thorns’ shutout and win streaks.

Craig Mitchelldyer / Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC lost 2-0 on the road to the North Carolina Courage, with the Thorns’ three-match win streak and shutout streak coming to an end thanks to a brace from Lynn Williams.

The Thorns immediately put the Courage under pressure. Portland pressed North Carolina high up the pitch and pinned the Courage back. Natalia Kuikka tested Casey Murphy early with two well-hit shots from distance.

The Courage adjusted to Portland’s press and were able to switch the point of attack and find more space. That allowed them to have more success going forward.

Debinha played a through ball to Lynn Williams in the 23rd minute. Williams sprinted down the left and played the ball to Jessica McDonald. The Courage striker scuffed her shot and the match remained goalless. Samantha Mewis put her shot from distance just wide a minute later.

North Carolina were better after their chances, consistently building momentum, but the Thorns withstood the pressure. McDonald let the Thorns off the hook again in the 41st minute. Williams curled a cross to the head of McDonald. Meghan Klingenberg jumped to challenge the Courage forward and did enough. McDonald mistimed the header and the chance was gone.

Portland had the opportunity to go ahead in the 42nd minute. Angela Salem struck a corner well and Simone Charley ran through the box unmarked but she couldn’t keep the ball down.

The Thorns started the second half quickly. Morgan Weaver cut the ball back and it deflected to Charley, who was at the top of the 18-yard box. She leaned back as she shot and the ball sailed over the crossbar. Dunn turned past a defender and squared to Charley but the result was the same.

Rocky Rodriguez split the Courage defense in the 52nd minute. She slotted it to Weaver, who took a touch around Murphy. She had no angle to shoot at the open net and instead crossed to Christine Sinclair. The Canadian was unable to cause Murphy any trouble.

The Courage opened the scoring in the 57th minute. Carson Pickett delivered a corner kick and Klingenberg got a small touch on the cross. Williams was unmarked at the back post and she tapped it in to give North Carolina the lead.

North Carolina took control of the match after scoring. Pickett crossed from the left and dropped it right behind the substitute Madison Pogarch. Williams headed the cross in at the near post and doubled the Courage lead.

In the 70th minute, Yazmeen Ryan came on for Morgan Weaver to make her Portland Thorns debut. Ryan got involved quickly and drove into the box before playing a cut back pass to Dunn. Dunn was tackled off the ball before she could unleash her shot.

The Thorns continued to try and unlock the Courage defense. Sinclair headed the ball over the bar after a Pogarch free kick and Portland were unable to create another opportunity.

The Thorns will be back in action on Saturday, July 3 at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. It will be the Thorns’ first road match against Racing Louisville. Kick-off is slated for 4:30 p.m. PST.