Portland Thorns FC took down the Washington Spirit 1-0 at Segra Field. Simone Charley scored the goal, with Olivia Moultrie earning the assist.
The Thorns were still a little shorthanded to start this one, with all the players over in Tokyo still out. The most notable addition to the starters was 15-year-old Olivia Moultrie, who officially became the youngest player to start in an NWSL match in the history of the league.
Portland got started fast, looking for a score as early as the first minute. Their play in the final third was solid, with clinical passing setting up more than a few opportunities for the club. Moultrie even got her first chance at a score in an NWSL game, sending a shot towards the goal. Unfortunately, it hit the right post.
Rocky Rodriguez was key to the success of the Thorns early on. She possessed the ball well and put on display some nifty moves in order to generate chances for the Thorns. She was central to Portland’s attack early on.
It was an even, fast-paced affair for most of the first half. Both teams possessed well and found chances in the final third. Washington found some success in the counterattack, making their quickly downfield in hopes finding a quick score. Fortunately, the Thorns defense remained strong and didn’t make anything to easy for the Spirit.
The Thorns got on the board in the 29th minute. Moultrie got the ball along the right side of the box in the final third and placed a perfect cross into the middle. Simone Charley was right there to head it in, and she did so gracefully. Charley earned her third goal of the year and Moultrie became the youngest player to ever record an assist in the NWSL. The Thorns led 1-0.
A thing of beauty: @olivia_moultrie's cross to @SimoneCharley's head. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/1uOPjoRdkZ— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 8, 2021
The Spirit continued to generate some chances, but they couldn’t penetrate Portland’s stout defense. Portland did well to rush Washington and make services all but impossible. On the other end, Moultrie looked comfortable as she created a few opportunities for other Thorns. Washington couldn’t get creative enough to find the first-half equalizer and Portland led 1-0 after one.
The second half began with Marisa Everett subbing in for Moultrie. It began much like the first half had played out, with Portland looking strong in the attack while forcing Washington to play somewhat quicker than they would have liked. Portland started the second half as solid as they ended the first.
Washington looked frantic as they searched for the equalizer. There wasn’t much they could defensively to slow Portland down, so offensively they did their best to strike quickly and take advantage of any open opportunity they had. But the Thorns aren’t the kind of team that lets those windows stay open for long, and Portland did well to stave the Spirit off.
It was just another solid performance for the Thorns. They shutout the Spirit and the Spirit couldn’t break through. Portland won 1-0 to earn yet another clean sheet.
Next up, the Thorns will be back on the road for a match against the Orlando Pride. The two teams will face on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 4 p.m. Pacific.