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Smith Bags Brace As Thorns Move Atop NWSL Table


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With less than two months remaining in the regular season, the race for the NWSL Shield and the six coveted playoff spots looks primed to come down to the wire with the top five teams in the table separated by just three points.

The Thorns moved into first in the league standings following a 3-3 draw against the North Carolina Courage on Friday afternoon at Providence Park. The draw extended Portland’s unbeaten streak to 10 consecutive matches and featured a brace from Thorns forward Sophia Smith. Smith opened the scoring in the eighth minute, picking up the ball just inside the Thorns’ attacking third and dribbling through the Courage defense before capping off her run with a neat right-footed finish. Portland doubled its lead heading into halftime with a goal in the 28th minute from Morgan Weaver, though North Carolina stormed back in the second half and tied the game with goals in the 61st and 72nd minutes, the first of which was assisted by defender Carson Pickett. Smith put Portland back in front in the 77th, getting on the end of an excellent through ball from Under-20 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team player Olivia Moultrie and beating Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy from close range for her 11th goal of the season. Smith’s 11 goals are tied with Alex Morgan for the most in the NWSL this season and she now has three goals in her last two games for Portland since returning from the international duty at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship where she netted a brace in the USA’s July 7 victory over Jamaica. Just days shy of her 22nd birthday, Smith is the youngest player in NWSL history to score double-digit goals in a single season.

 

WATCH: SMITH SCORES BRACE FOR THORNS

 

North Carolina scored again in the 85th to secure the draw, though the point was enough to move Portland atop the league table, thanks to a superior goal differential over San Diego Wave FC. The Wave also have 25 points but have played one more game than the Thorns and will remain in second through the weekend following a 2-1 defeat to the Kansas City Current at home on Sunday afternoon. The Current scored twice in the opening half and held off a late surge by San Diego to come away with all three points and extend its unbeaten streak to nine games. Kansas City is currently fifth in the league standings with 22 points through 14 matches.

The Houston Dash moved up to third in the table following a 2-1 comeback victory on the road over OL Reign on Sunday afternoon. Megan Rapinoe, who tallied an assist in the Reign’s 1-1 midweek draw against Racing Louisville, scored her first goal of the year for club or country in the 16th minute, burying a left-footed blast inside the far post.

 

WATCH: RAPINOE SCORES HER FIRST GOAL OF 2022

Houston stormed back to start the second half, scoring in the 53rd and 55th minutes to become the first team to defeat OL Reign at home this season. With the victory, the Dash have now won three consecutive matches, their longest win streak of the season.The Chicago Red Stars sit fourth in the standings after a 2-0 victory at home over visiting NJ/NY Gotham FC, which snapped a two-game skid. Chicago opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time and doubled its advantage in the 66th minute off a corner kick served in from Mallory Pugh, who registered her third assist of the season to go along with six goals on the year.  

 

After a 1-1 draw against the Reign to open the week, Racing Louisville picked up another point on Friday, playing the Washington Spirit to a 1-1 draw. Louisville struck first in the 52nd minute but the Spirit scored an equalizer in the 64th via forward Ashley Hatch, who netted her fifth goal of the season with a low, driven strike.

 

WATCH: HATCH NETS EQUALIZER FOR SPIRIT

 

Angel City FC and Orlando Pride played to a 2-2 draw on Sunday night to cap off the weekend action and now sit seventh and eighth, respectively, in the league standings.

 

Information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.

 

Wednesday, August 10

NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns FC

7:30 p.m.

Paramount+

Friday, August 12

NWSL: Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville FC

8:30 p.m.

Paramount+

Saturday, August 13

NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. Kansas City Current

8:00 p.m.

Paramount+

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. Orlando Pride

10:30 p.m.

Paramount+

Sunday, August 14

NWSL: OL Reign vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC

3:00 p.m.

Paramount+

NWSL: Angel City FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

8:00 p.m.

CBS Sports Network

 



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