The Portland Thorns raced past the Houston Dash to a 4-0 victory Sunday afternoon. An own goal by the Dash opened the score, and Sophia Smith added a PK in the 23rd minute. 16-year-old Olivia Moultrie made history as she tallied Portland’s third goal, becoming the youngest goal scorer in NWSL history. Smith finished off proceedings by notching her brace in the 82nd minute.
It was the second time the Thorns had to play this week. After the draw they got on Wednesday against San Diego Wave FC, they headed to humid Houston to go against a team that looks renovated since Sara Lowdown took the reins. The home team went into this match with a 6-game unbeaten streak, the longest in the team’s history.
Even though the Dash was playing at home, they were missing some key players. The most noticeable were Rachel Daly, who was on international duty, and Nichelle Prince who was listed as questionable on the availability report.
It’s never easy to play in Houston— the humidity can choke the air out of your lungs. So the Thorns had a good test in front of them. A blow for the team came minutes before the kickoff whistle when Christine Sinclair got injured and had to be benched on the day of her 39th birthday. So it was time for Olivia Moultrie to step up.
Despite these unfortunate events, Portland got an early lead.
1’ Own goal by Katie Naughton! She put the ball against the back of her own net after Hina Sugita’s ball into the box.
6’ Bella Bixby saved Emily Ogle’s shot. It was going to hit the crossbar anyway.
18’ Free kick for Portland. Sam Coffey bent the ball perfectly and Rocky Rodríguez connected with it on the far post but couldn’t beat Campbell.
22’ Penalty kick for Portland. After a big save by Campbell, Smith is taken down inside the box. She took the spot kick and scored.
Thorns were 2-0 up in 24 minutes. Sophia Smith became the leading goalscorer for the team by recording her fifth goal. Two of those goals came via penalty kicks in back-to-back games.
28’ Smith smashed the crossbar!
After the first half, Portland’s players were sweating— but mostly due to Houston’s humidity, as the hosts didn’t create much trouble in the final third. In the second half Moultrie started to look for her goal— and she was finally rewarded.
58’ Moultrie's shot went wide, but what an effort from the youngest on the team!
63’ Leftie shot by Rocky, and Campbell sent it to the corner.
64’ Substitutions for Portland: Natalie Beckman entered for Becky Sauerbrunn. Janine Beckie made way for Morgan Weaver.
67’ Yellow card shown to Pogarch.
69’ Dangerous ball in the Thorns box. Bella Bixby ended pulled up slightly injured when trying to clear it. She received medical attention and could continue playing.
74’ GOAL! Olivia Moultrie scores her first professional goal!
With her goal, Moultrie became the youngest goal scorer in NWSL history.
78’ Another substitution: Taylor Porter entered for Sam Coffey.
81’ Solo effort by Smith but the defense closed her down at the right moment and sent the ball to the corner.
82’ GOAL! Sophia Smith scored after Houston can’t clear the ball. Hanson tried to clear it in the line but ended up in her own goal. In the end, the ball appeared to cross the line and the goal was credited to Smith.
85’ Substitution for the Thorns: Hannah Betfort entered for Sophia.
87’ Yellow card for Bixby for time-wasting.
The match was played until the fourth minute of stoppage time, and the final result was a 4-0 win for the Thorns. A great win for them on the road, bouncing back after wasting a 2-0 lead against San Diego.
Portland will be back next Sunday, at Providence Park against Orlando Pride at 12 p.m. Pacific.