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Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 1-3 North Carolina Courage

The Thorns couldn’t find the back of the net enough in a 1-3 loss on the road to the North Carolina Courage.

NWSL: Portland Thorns FC at North Carolina Courage Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Thorns traveled to face the North Carolina Courage and suffered a 3-1 loss Wednesday evening. Diana Ordóñez, Debinha, and Meredith Speck tallies for the hosts, while Rocky Rodriguez briefly brought the Thorns within one in the second half.


The Thorns lineup included a few differences including Abby Smith starting in goal for the first time in the regular season, and Olivia Moultrie, Yazmeen Ryan, and Taylor Porter earning starts. Kelli Hubly on the other hand has yet to leave the pitch for the Thorns and has played every minute of the regular season.

The first half started off on fairly level footing but the Courage was the first to break through with a header goal coming from Ordóñez. The rest of the half was relatively level as both teams were unable to find the back of the net and the half ended with Portland 0-1 NC.

The second half started off largely the same way. Sophia Smith came close with a shot that was deflected wide by Casey Murphy but the Courage were quick to follow with a goal from Debinha, doubling the scoreline for North Carolina. Rocky Rodriguez was subbed on and she found the back of the net with a header goal, cutting the NC lead in half. Late in the second half however, the courage put away any hopes Portland had of leveling the scoreline as Speck buried their third goal of the night. While the Thorns worked to score a few more goals, neither team scored anything else, and the scoreline ended 3-1 in favor of the hosts.

1’ Kick-off in NC

1’ Sophia Smith looking for the back of the net but it was cleared away by the NC defense.

5’ Sugita does a good job to stop Debinha’s attack just outside of the 18. After the ball is bounced around a bit Ryan takes off upfield looking to counterattack.

6’ Beckie goes down outside the NC box earning a free kick for the Thorns.

7’ Ryan takes the free kick but it was just ahead of the oncoming players and Casey Murphey does well to come out and collect the ball.

8’ The Thorns earn a corner kick. It was taken quickly and eventually is played out for a goal kick.

11’ Sophia Smith with a shot directly at Murphy. Didn’t cause too much trouble but it was a good build-up.

13’ Abby Smith lost the ball to NC after a delayed pass was blocked by Debinha. There was then some trouble in the box until Taylor Porter came in with a well-timed tackle keeping the Thorns level with the Courage.

16’ Debinha looked to break away but Hubly with another great tackle dispossessed her of the ball.

17’ Sophia Smith with another great run towards the NC goal. Her shot again went to Murphy.

18’ Kerolin looking to take on Hubly 1v1 but Sauerbrunn steps up to help defend and the ball is cleared away.

20’ ABBY SMITH WITH A BREAKAWAY SAVE. Ordóñez and Debinha connected but Smith came out stopping their run at goal.

23’ Abby Smith forced another save from Murphy. Another show of footwork from Smith found her in front of net yet again.

24’ Courage goal. A header from Diana Ordóñez

28’ Beckie nearly got a head on a cross but in the end, wasn’t successful.

30’ Ordóñez went down for NC holding her shoulder and was subbed off and replaced by Brittany Ratcliffe.

36’ A chance for Portland again with Smith’s shot going just wide.

43’ Carson Pickett with a shot that goes wide.

45’ Abby Smith came out again to recover the ball from Debinha’s breakaway.

Two minutes of stoppage time were added, though nothing came from the extra time, and the Thorns head into the half 0-1.

A few changes for Portland at the half, Beckie and Klingenberg came off replaced by Rocky Rodriguez and Natalia Kuikka

46’ Second half kicked off.

46’ Kuikka was fouled from behind earning a free kick.

47’ Dangerous opportunity from Sophia Smith is tipped out of bounds by Murphy giving a corner kick to the Thorns.

49’ Carson Pickett with a cross in that is just over the head of Debinha

50’ Debinha puts another one in for NC. 2-0 to the Courage.

51’ Ratcliffe with a shot that’s deflected over the net by Hubly. First North Carolina corner of the evening.

57’ Abby Smith with a kick save, stopping a shot from Debinha.

62’ A cross from Nally is pushed over the crossbar by Murphy earning Portland a corner.

63’ Ryan takes a low driven corner that played out giving Portland another corner..

63’ ROCKY ROGRIGUEZ SCORES! A beautiful redirected header cuts the lead in half. Portland 1-2 North Carolina. It wasRocky’s first goal of the season, and Yazmeen Ryan’s fifth assist as well.

64’ Some subs for Portland: Emily Menges is finally back on the pitch! She replaced Sauerbrunn. Hannah Betfort also came on for Sophia Smith.

67’ Sugita with a shot that finds Murphy’s arms.

68’ Debinha made a nice run in but Hubly stopped her run with a good tackle.

78’ Sugita was subbed off and replaced by Morgan Weaver.

79’ Debinha was trying to find a North Carolina player in the box but it’s played out for a Portland goalkick.

81’ Another corner kick given to North Carolina. Abby Smith punches away the service from Pickett. The courage serve it back in and Menges is forced to head it out for another Courage corner.

83’ ABBY SMITH AGAIN! Fully stretched out denies Debinha’s shot.

83’ But Carolina find the net after a slurry of activity in the box. Speck puts it away. 3-1 to the Courage.

87’ Portland corner that was taken by Ryan. It was played short to Kuikka before a shot from Ryan sails over the top of the net.

Three minutes of stoppage time were added.

90+2’ Speck with a breakaway that Menges managed to track down and Abby Smith collected.

90+2’ Moultrie with a shot that went over the net.

90+3’ Hannah Betfort went down hard and Merritt Mathias earned a yellow for her tackle.

90+4’ Moultrie’s shot this time off the post and a last minute corner for Portland. Nothing came from it.

Final Whistle: Portland 1-3 North Carolina

The loss snapped Portland’s eleven game NWSL unbeaten run, although they still currently stand at the top of the NWSL table at the moment.

Portland next plays San Diego at home on August 27th at 7:30 p.m. Pacific.