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Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 3-2 San Diego Wave

Hina Sugita led the Thorns to a dominant first half which would be enough to ensure the three points stayed in Portland.

Thorns FC/Craig Mitchelldyer

Sophia Smith and Hina Sugita’s first-half goals were enough to give the Portland Thorns a 3-2 win despite a second-half comeback from San Diego Wave FC.

The Thorns utterly dominated San Diego in the first half. Sophia Smith opened the scoring in the fourth minute and Hina Sugita scored her first NWSL goal in the 21st minute to make it 2-0.

The Wave struggled to get anything going offensively and both Smith and Morgan Weaver haunted the San Diego defense, creating consistent danger. Hina Sugita capitalized again after another Thorns’ spell of pressure orchestrated by Smith and Sinclair. The Thorns went into the half up 3-0.

San Diego were much better to start the second half. They immediately got a goal back through Isabella Briede. Alex Morgan and substitute Kelsey Turnbow combined well and Portland struggled to adjust defensively.

Turnbow assisted fellow substitute Taylor Kornieck from a corner kick to make it 3-2. The Wave continued to pile on the pressure in the second half and Portland struggled to maintain possession.

Portland were able to prevent San Diego’s attempt at a three-goal comeback and the match ended 3-2.

  • 4’ Sophia Smith opened the scoring early in Providence Park much as she did in San Diego. Morgan Weaver drove toward the 18-yard box and sprayed it wide to Smith. She faced up to her defender and got it on her left foot. Smith then fired the ball across goal and into the side-netting giving the Thorns a one-goal lead.
  • 10’ Smith picked the ball up on the right and sprinted at the defense before launching a shot toward the top corner of the goal. Carly Telford reacted well and made a crucial diving save to deny Smith.
  • 16’ After a recycled corner, Meaghan Nally curled a ball toward the far post. Smith arrived and poked a one-touch shot wide of goal.
  • 21’ Weaver’s play on the right led to another great chance and eventually a goal. Weaver nutmegged Teagan McGrady before finding Christine Sinclair. The Canadian lofted a shot off the crossbar and Hina Sugita was first to it. Sugita propelled herself at the ball and put her diving header into the back of the net, scoring her first NWSL goal.
  • 41’ Smith fired a shot at goal which was saved to Sinclair. The Canadian struck but it was blocked back to her. She chipped a pass forward which was headed by a Wave defender to Sugita, who put the Thorns 3-0 to the good.
  • 45+1’ Christen Westphal chipped a ball to Bella Bixby’s back post. Bixby made the save while falling back and the defense cleared the danger.
  • 45’ Madison Pogarch came on for Nally to start the second half.
  • 46’ San Diego got the half started quickly. Substitute Kelsey Turnbow played a great ball into the box for Alex Morgan. Morgan’s shot was saved but she recovered and played it to the on-rushing Isabella Briede, who made it 3-1.
  • 47’ Smith tried to reestablish the three-goal lead immediately. She took on Westphal and fired a shot at goal that was saved wide.
  • 49’ Smith went at Westphal again and was brought down. The referee waved play on.
  • 55’ Sofia Jakobsson crossed to the back post and found Morgan. She headed it back across goal and wide.
  • 56’ Turnbow’s corner kick was punched by Bixby to Morgan, who hit a shot off the post and Emily Menges had to clear the danger.
  • 63’ Olivia Moultrie and Yazmeen Ryan replaced Rocky Rodriguez and Smith.
  • 67’ Substitute Talor Kornieck came on a scored with her first touch. Turnbow swung in a corner kick and Kornieck rose up and thumped her header into the back of the net.
  • The Wave continued to push forward and the Thorns struggled to find outlets going forward.
  • 87’ Bixby made a good save on an Alex Morgan volley.
  • 90+3 Natalie Beckman replaced Morgan Weaver.
  • Portland were able to withstand San Diego’s final push and made sure that San Diego did not complete the three-goal comeback.

The Thorns close out the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup group play away at Angel City FC. The match is scheduled for Sunday, April 24 at 6 p.m. Pacific.