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Portland Thorns Shut Out North Carolina With 1-0 Win

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June 9, 2024 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
Portland Thorns FC News Release

PORTLAND, Oregon – Portland Thorns (7-4-1, 21 points) earned a 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage thanks to a second-half goal from Sophia Smith and a shutout performance from Shelby Hogan and the team’s defense in front of 21,025 fans at Providence Park on Pride night.

Postgame sound from Interim Head Coach Rob Gale, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and defender Marie Müller can be found here.

Throughout much of the first half the two teams battled in the trenches of the midfield, alternating possession, with both sides struggling to find clear opportunities in front of goal. North Carolina had arguably the best opportunity in the 42nd minute, but a joint effort from goalkeeper Shelby Hogan and defender Marie Müller stopped Ashley Sanchez’ shot.

In first-half stoppage time, forward Sophia Smith looked to have the Thorns’ best chance at goal, rocketing off a one-touch shot, but North Carolina’s Casey Murphy was able to punch it away, leaving the match scoreless heading into the halftime break.

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn made history in the 57th minute, becoming the 8th player in National Women’s Soccer League history and the first member of the Portland Thorns to play 15,000 regular season minutes.

The second half proved to be a physical clash, with consistent start-stops making it difficult for either team to find their rhythm. Midfielder Olivia Moultire looked to try her hand at goal in the 61st minute, weaving through several Courage defenders inside the penalty box, but her shot missed just wide of the near post.

In the 79th minute the Thorns finally broke the stalemate after Video Assisted Review awarded Portland a penalty kick for a foul on Hina Sugita inside the 18-yard-box. Smith stepped up to the spot and confidently slotted her kick into the back of the net, marking her ninth goal of the season. The foul on Sugita served as Ryan Williams’ second of the match, leaving North Carolina with 10 players for the remainder of the game.

The Thorns would go on to hold onto the 1-0 lead, earning their seventh victory of the season.

UP NEXT: Portland Thorns FC are set to face their rivals, Seattle Reign, on Sunday, July 16 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The Thorns will look to win their second-consecutive win over Seattle, having previously earned a dominant 4-0 win early this season.


POR: Sophia Smith (PK) 79th minute: Following a foul on Hina Sugita inside…

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