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Match Recap: Portland Thorns 3 - 3 Gotham FC

A goalfest in New Jersey sees Portland lose control over the 2022 NWSL Shield right at the finish line.

NWSL: Portland Thorns FC at NJ/NY Gotham FC Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns drew 3-3 with Gotham FC on the road in their regular season finale. The draw clinched Portland a top-two finish, earning them a first round bye and the honor of hosting a semifinal game. However, the result took control of the 2022 NWSL Shield out of their hands, and likely meant they missed out on back-to-back first place finishes.

Nahomi Kawasumi opened the scoring for the visitors, but Sophia Smith answered back with a brace late in the first half. Morgan Weaver scored in the second half to seemingly put things out of reach, but goals from Ifeoma Onumonu and McCall Zerboni pegged affairs back to a disappointing draw.

Coach Rhian Wilkinson had the chance to win her first trophy with Portland in her first season as an NWSL head coach. With Sam Coffey on the questionable list, the coach decided to put Taylor Porter on the field after she scored her third goal of the season against Chicago. Sophia Smith started too, in the quest for the Golden Boot award.

Nothing much happened in the first ten minutes, but Midge Purce had a good look some minutes later. A ball from the right brushed the crossbar. Portland tried to find spaces on the wings but the fullbacks were doing well cutting their attacks.

15’ A good opportunity for Gotham with Midge missing by little! Zerboni and Mewis doubled up on marking Christine Sinclair, stole the ball, and launched their attack. Midge finished shooting and hit the outside of the net.

16’ Opportunity for Portland, with Smith providing the cross for Morgan Weaver but Gotham’s defense cleared the ball.

19’ Another good look for Gotham. Mewis sends a through pass for Ify Onumonu but Kelli Hubly blocked the ball before she got a chance to shoot.

22’ Hina Sugita sent a pass to Rocky, who sent in the cross but can’t connect with Weaver.

26’ Scary moment for Portland. Becky Sauerbrunn couldn’t connect with Rocky and Gotham stole the ball, launching themselves into the attack. After a good low cross, they couldn’t connect with Onumonu.

32’ Great through pass by Smith to Weaver but Gotham’s defense intervened again and sent it to the corner.

39’ Goal Gotham 1-0. Tough moment for Portland as Naho Kawasumi scores first.

41’ Rocky missed an open net!

43’ PENALTY! Portland is awarded a PK, and Sophia Smith stepped up to take.

43’ GOAL THORNS 1-1! Smith cooly buried the penalty!

45’ GOAL THORNS 1-2! How the tables have turned! Sophia scores a brace with a little flick off of Hina Sugita’s assist!

As the first half ended, spirits were high after turning the score around.

There was only one substitution at halftime, with Yazmeen Ryan coming on for Christine Sinclair.

53’ GOAL THORNS 1-3 Morgan Weaver made things 3-1 with a maybe-shot, maybe-cross ‘shrot’!

56’ Goal Gotham 2-3. Gotham pulls one back with an Ify Onumonu goal.

64’ Sophia Smith with the header but it went over the crossbar.

66’ Rocky went for goal from distance but the shot was high.

69’ Substitution: Crystal Dunn entered for Taylor Porter.

74 Goal Gotham 3-3. Oh, no. Gotham equalizes. McCall Zerboni with the header.

81’ Substitution: Janine Beckie came on for Morgan Weaver.

84’ The Thorns finally broke Gotham’s pressure and Rocky gets a shot off but it’s wide.

86’ Sophia cuts inside, and finds space to shoot but Betos makes an amazing save to deny Sophia’s hat trick.

87’ Another chance for Sophia but she shoots it right to Betos’ gloves.

90’ The referee adds 3 more minutes to get the winning goal.

90+1’ Portland gets a free kick for a foul on Sophia.

90+3’ Gotham has a free kick for a foul on Monaghan.

Final whistle: Portland Thorns 3-3 Gotham.

Portland failed to secure the 2022 NWSL Shield, and will need to await results from elsewhere across the league to see if they clinched first place or not.

Is it worrisome that Gotham headed into this game with a scoreless streak of more than 450 minutes, 5 matches in a row— and they scored three goals on Portland. It will definitely be something to analyze for the Thorns coaching staff.

It was a disappointing result for sure. In order to win the Shield, the Thorns now need to hope for OL Reign to lose or draw, and the Kansas City Current to not win by at least 24 goals.

Fingers crossed— and see you in the playoffs.