Sophia Smith, Yazmeen Ryan and Morgan Weaver scored as the Portland Thorns defeated Angel City FC 3-0 in Providence Park. Rocky Rodriguez returned to the Thorns’ starting XI and Taylor Porter and Natalie Beckman were each given their first NWSL starts. Gabby Provenzano made her professional and Thorns debut as a late-game substitute.
Angel City set the pace of the game and dictated the tempo. The Thorns looked to win the ball back and counter quickly through Natalia Kuikka, Sophia Smith and Morgan Weaver. Despite Angel City’s possession statistics, they were unable to test Bella Bixby.
Rocky Rodriguez tested DiDi Haracic in the 30th minute after a nice team move. One minute later, Sophia Smith scored the only goal of the half after slicing and dicing her way through the Angel City defense.
The Thorns doubled the lead via Yazmeen Ryan’s first professional goal. Natalia Kuikka forced DiDi Haracic into a save. Ryan was there to capitalize on the rebound, giving Portland a 2-0 lead.
Angel City struggled to replicate the success they had in the first half. Portland seemed to improve with each goal and the LA side looked rattled. Morgan Weaver made it 3-0 with an absolute rocket in the 78th minute and the game would finish with that scoreline.
- 5’ Jun Endo cut inside and passed to Christen Press inside the penalty area. She unleashed a shot that rose over the bar.
- 10’ Morgan Weaver played a ball behind the defense to the on-rushing Sophia Smith, who looked to be through on goal. But the assistant referee’s flag was up, signaling that Smith was offside.
- Angel City dominated possession and the pace of play. The LA side looked to win the ball back quickly and the Thorns struggled to get a foothold in the game.
- 30’ Yazmeen Ryan made a good run behind the defense and Kelli Hubly found her. Ryan drove end line and played a cut back to Rocky Rodriguez, who struck toward goal. DiDi Haracic made the save and Rodriguez’s follow-up header looped over the bar.
- 31’ Sophia Smith changed all of that in the 31st minute. The forward bodied one defender before cutting past another, Smith then curled the ball into the corner of the goal, giving the Thorns the lead.
- Angel City continued to have most of the ball but the Thorns were sparked to life by Smith’s goal.
- The Thorns put together some better spells of possession at the end of the half which was capped off by a long shot from Taylor Porter which was caught by Angel City’s Haracic.
- 46’ Rocky Rodriguez was replaced by Hina Sugita.
- 49’ Smith went on an incredible run through the center of the pitch before finding Weaver wide to her right. Weaver struck the ball and it flashed over the bar.
- 53’ Beckman delivered a corner that found its way to Kuikka at the top of the box. Kuikka cut inside and let lose a low shot. Haracic spilled it and Ryan was there to poke it home as the Thorns took a 2-0 lead.
- 66’ Marissa Everett came on for Sophia Smith.
- 68’ Press went on a long run that started in her own half which resulted in the forward firing a shot at Bixby, who caught the shot.
- 72’ Madison Pogarch replaced Kuikka, who received a loud round of applause as she exited the pitch.
- 78’ Morgan Weaver got the ball on her right foot at the top of the 18-yard box and hammered a shot past Haracic and into the back of the net.
- 84’ Gabby Provenzano and Hannah Betfort came on for Morgan Weaver and Kelli Hubly. Provenzano made her Portland Thorns debut.
- The Thorns dominated the second half after a shaky first half but ensure the clean sheet for the second consecutive match.
Portland return to action on Saturday, April 2, when they welcome rivals OL Reign to Providence Park. Kick off is slated for 7 p.m. (Pacific).