On June 12, the Portland Thorns came to town to take ont he Houston Dash for the annual Pride Night match at PNC Stadium. From the opening minute, nothing went in Houston’s favor as the Thorns walked away with a 4-0 victory.
Portland win ahead in the first minute of the match. Katie Naughton got her leg on a cross into the Houston box but could only redirect it past Jane Campbell and in her own net. This turned out to be an omen for how the whole match would go.
Sophia Smith doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute. Portland would take their lead in to halftime, looking comfortable on a very hot Houston evening.
The Thorns would add another goal in the 75th minute when 16 year-ol Olivia Moultrie became the youngest player in NWSL history to find the back of the net. Moultrie got the start after Christine Sinclair was a late scratch from the lineup. The teenager made the most of her opportunity with a goal and an assist.
Moultrie’s assist came on Portland’s fourth and final goal of the evening, Sophia Smith’s second of the contest. Smith was able to score off a scramble in the box, just sneaking her shot over the line. The USWNT striker is in fine form, taking home player of the match honors with her brace and an assist on Moultrie’s assist.
The resuklt was very disappointing for a team that has been in such great form and on a long unbeaten run. Midfielder Bri Visalli spoke after the match about the disappointment. “Initial reactions are just disappointing, we were on a great roll, this is not ideally how we want to come off it either,” Visalli said in the post match press conference. “We don’t want to stop the streak that we are on, obviously, it is bound to happen at some point, but this definitely wasn’t our night. Quite frankly, very disappointing, a lot of people dug deep, we can reflect on that and figure that out moving forward.”
Acting head coach Sarah Lowdon was very straight forward with her thoughts on the performance after the match. “We can always be better and tonight is a humbling experience and credit to Portland, tough days happen and it’s how you respond.” Lowdown also spoke about how this loss can be a humbling experience and how the team will respond. “It’s a humbling experience, but I know the character of this team and I’m confident that they will respond accordingly and positively,” Lowdon said. “That’s the main thing I think again like you know the season isn’t decided on one loss, so there is a long way to go and we learn from this. You got to see a lot of players that potentially haven’t seen many minutes and it was a great opportunity for them tonight.”
Next up for the Dash is an away trip to take on the North Carolina Courage on Sunday, June 19. The next home match is July 1st against the Kansas City Current. That match is a 713 night so make sure you get out to PNC Stadium.