The Portland Thorns returned home to take on Racing Louisville on Sept. 21. They started off relatively well matched but took off early in the second half with Sophia Smith and Sam Coffey netting two goals in two minutes. Moultrie added a third as well to cap off the night.
Becky Sauerbrunn made her 150th regular season start and Crystal Dunn made her return to Providence Park.
The lineup for the Thorns was pretty usual, however, Christine Sinclair started on the bench and Olivia Moultrie took her starting spot. Hina Sugita was also on the bench for the start of this match.
The match started off with a lot of energy from the Thorns but shifted to a fairly even game as the two teams both fought to find the back of the net. Both Sophia Smith and Yazmeen Ryan had some good chances that never made their way on target.
Regardless of how the first half went, the second half started with a bang. Smith and Sam Coffey both netted a goal each within two minutes (the first two minutes of the half too). Moultrie added to the scoreline after finding herself open in the box, as the shot from her left foot finds side netting. The rest of the half didn’t slow down for Portland, as Crystal Dunn took to the field again for the first time at home since her son was born.
1’ Kickoff in the city of roses! Racing Louisville started with the ball.
3’ Jess McDonald crossed for Louisville but it didn’t find anybody.
4’ Nadim went down outside of the box for racing. Damelo tried to drive it low but was deflected away.
5’ Smith tried to take on everyone by herself but was stymied by Fox.
7’ Smith is taken down near the corner but nothing was called.
8’ Smith with a shot from the top of the box but Lund parries it away. Coffey took the corner, it was headed away but Kling tried to have a shot. It was collected easily by Lund.
12’ Beckie with a shot from outside the 18, Lund bobbled it and Smith looked to finish but wasn’t successful.
13’ Coffey took another Portland corner. Nadim ended up committing a foul on Kling a ways outside of the box.
14’ The ball was served in and Lund came out to punch. It fell to Ryan who volleyed it towards the empty net but it was saved by Gemma Bonner.
14’ Nadim added her name to the goal-line save list as well, clearing away a header.
17’ Portland corner again taken by Coffey. This one ended in a foul by Nadim on Kling.
17’ Kling took this free-kick but it resulted in Louisville ball.
21’ Moultrie ripped a shot from outside the 18 but it soared wide.
23’ Hubly did well to deny Nadim on the goal line but Nadim ended up needing medical treatment. She returned to her feet after a spell but left the field, replaced by Davis.
28’ After a chaotic spell from Portland, Smith looked to shoot but Moultrie found the end of it, Lund stopped it again and Coffey fired a half volley at the net. Lund finally claimed the ball.
32’ Kuikka was fouled. It was played quickly and Hubly sent it upfield.
33’ Racing took their first corner of the game, it crossed into the box but the shot found Bixby easily.
34’ A free-kick is awarded to Louisville outside of the box. It seemed to be a yellow for Moultrie after a handball. (I don’t think this handball should’ve garnered a yellow but that’s just me...) The free-kick, taken by Emina Ekic is rocketed off the bar.
36’ MacDonald went down this time for Louisville but she returned to her feet after a short spell.
38’ Ryan is taken down earning the Thorns a free kick.
39’ Smith looked launched a rocket from way outside but it was saved by Lund. Coffey took the corner again and found the head of Rodriguez. Nothing came from this attempt either.
41’ Beckie whipped a cross into the Louisville box but Lund found it first.
41’ Ryan with a good opportunity here that she sent over the top of the box. Lund was slow to come out.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added.
45+1’ Smith was taken down while trying to spring a counterattack.
45+2’ Smith was working to find a goal but ended up committing a foul... hmmm.
And that’s the end of the first half... whew.
46’ And the Thorns kicked off the second half.
47’ AND SOPHIA SMITH FINISHED FOR THE THORNS! Brilliant solo breakaway. Hubly with the long ball pass.
Sophia wants a goal, Sophia gets a goal ‼️ pic.twitter.com/MK0jpmAOlD— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) September 22, 2022
48’ COFFEY ADDED ONE TO THE BOARD! A rocket with her left, Lund had no chance there. It’s her first NWSL goal— what a rookie season she’s been having!
49’ Smith was looking for her second but this time it was deflected away by the Louisville defense. Moultrie found the rebound but her shot didn’t have much to it and it was cleared.
55’ Smith went down but Kuikka found the shot. Lund made a diving save, stopping their effort.
56’AND THE 17-YEAR-OLD FINISHED TO MAKE IT 3 FOR THE THORNS! Rocky Rodriguez flicked the pass from Kling through to Moultrie.
57’ Just like that Sinclair came on for Moultrie and Morgan Weaver came on for Ryan.
60’ Beckie’s pass that was looking for Sinclair was intercepted by Lund.
61’ Kling was cut down by Damelo, and Damelo received a yellow card for her challenge.
65’ Damelo’s turn for a free-kick but she lofted it wide. It went off the post...
66’ A through ball for Weaver found her offside.
67’ Rocky went down after a challenge in the air earning Portland a free-kick, and it was played quickly.
70’ MacDonald with a shot but Bixby saved it easily.
71’ Another corner for Louisville but it’s driven away by Sinclair.
72’ Sophia Smith went off and was replaced by Marissa Everett. Kling also left the pitch and was replaced by Tegan McGrady.
74’ Coffey was dragged down in Lousiville’s half but the Thorns played it short, choosing possession over the attack.
75’ Coffey fired a cross high and far but Weaver was unable to put it under control.
76’ Sauerbrunn was taken down by Damelo but it appeared as though she slid and the two players laughed it off.
77’ Rodriguez put one on net but Lund collected it easily.
78’ Coffey was subbed off and CRYSTAL DUNN made her return to Providence park!
80’ Dunn wanted to capitalize on her appearance but her shot arced into Lund’s waiting arms.
83’ Dunn found Weaver on the side who sent a cross meant for Sinclair... it was intercepted by Lund.
86’ Sinclair was hunting for a goal, but her 1v1 ended in a heavy touch off her foot.
87’ Sinclair was looking for Weaver but she couldn’t get enough power on her header.
90’ Weaver found herself in the box but her shot went wide.
Two minutes of stoppage time were added.
90+2’ Sinclair chested the ball down in the box and earned a corner for the Thorns. Beckie served it in and it found Sauerbrunn whose shot is deflected to Dunn before it was cleared away.
And the whistle marked the end of the game. Portland emerged victorious 3-0 over Louisville.
The win brought the Thorns to the top of the table, ending the night in first place. The three points also kept them in the driver’s seat for claiming the NWSL Shield, with two games left to play.
Portland is next in action on September 25, when they host the Chicago Red Stars in their regular season home finale at 1 p.m.