NWSL Championship started with all the teams hoping to win the trophy. Well, only one did and it took “The battle for superiority or vengeance” To determine the winner. Exactly a year and 2weeks ago, The Thorns lost to North Carolina Courage in the semifinals.
on Saturday evening at Orlando City Stadium, Portland Thorns FC won their second NWSL Championship, with a 1-0 win over the North Carolina Courage, the first one coming in 2013. In front of 8,124 fans, Portland settled their semifinals loss a year ago with a win over as many of the same players who were responsible for their semi-finals exit 12 months 2 weeks ago. The hard-fought game pitted the NWSL’s top two defenses against each other and the match seemed destined from the get-go to be decided by one goal scored by Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan in the 50th minute and was named MVP of the game after scoring the only goal in the game. Horan started in all 24 games this season, missing out in only 35 minutes for the Thorns. Her goal coming from Sonnett’s free-kick after Abby Dahlkemper (Courage defender) fouled near midfield. The delivery seemed to have probably been headed on by Thorns midfielder Amandine Henry or off Dahlkemper, but that didn’t stop Sonnett from been credited with the assist.
The first substitution of the game came 12 minutes into the game as North Carolina Courage’s Taylor Smith picked up an injury was substituted for Makenzy Doniak. Samantha Mewis’s left footed shot from more than 35 yards hits the bar 2 minutes after Taylor Smith’s substitution.
13 fouls were committed by The Thorns to the Courage’s 11. This led to Portland receiving three yellow cards (Heath, Hayley Raso, and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir). Kristen Hamilton also left the match with an injury after a contact with Heath. The hard tackles began when Thorns midfielder Tobin Heath, who after missing 22 games with an injury was starting just her second match of the year, brought Taylor Smith down in the second minute. The Courage lost another player in the 39th minute to injury when forward Kristen Hamilton was made to exit the game. The referee showed the first yellow card of the match to Heath in the 41st minute for steadfast violation. before halftime, Chesky’s lack of check led to frustration from the Courage late in the half and North Carolina committed bad fouls on Portland in the closing minutes. It was Portland that found the back of the net. Early in the year, it was not certain whether Portland would be able to achieve their goal of lifting a trophy this term. The team coped with injuries early on and the team didn’t begin to click until Parsons made a formation adjustment midseason.
But the Thorns kept crushing and came together as one to play their best soccer in the concluding weeks of the year, finishing the season with wins in 11 of their concluding 13 games to grasp the championship trophy on that Saturday night. Portland Thorns are 2017 NWSL Champs, North Carolina played well, 2018 is yours….