Recap: Spirit falls, 2-4, in action-packed match against Portland Thorns FC

Washington Spirit  |   June 24, 2023
Recap: Spirit falls, 2-4, in action-packed match against Portland Thorns FC Featured Image

Portland, Ore. (06/23/2023) – The Washington Spirit lost, 2-4, in an electrifying goal fest in Friday night’s matchup against Portland Thorns FC. Portland forward Sophia Smith logged a hat trick in less than 50 minutes as the Spirit remains winless in club history in matches played in Portland.  


With a start in the match, Spirit midfielder and recent USWNT call-up Ashley Sanchez became the 12th Spirit player in club history to start 50 regular season matches. Head Coach Mark Parsons also became only the second coach in NWSL history to coach in 183+ regular season games, trailing only OL Reign coach Laura Harvey. 


From the opening kick, both teams established a full-throttle pace. In the fifth minute, Thorns FC unleashed an offensive onslaught orchestrated by Smith. The Spirit answered with an attack of its own minutes later with a beautifully-placed throw-in from Sam Staab whose service bounced around the box before Inès Jaurena shot the ball just wide of goal. 


Shortly after, in the 11th, the floodgates opened and the scoring commenced. Smith made a beautiful run and placed a ball from outside of the box past keeper Aubrey Kingsbury to mark her fourth consecutive game with a goal this season. This is Smith’s second streak of four or more consecutive matches with goals after scoring in five straight last season. The 2022 NWSL MVP is the third player in league history to record multiple scoring streaks of four or more games, joining Sam Kerr (3) and Kim Little (2). The goal keeps Portland’s streak of scoring in every game this season alive – they are the only team to do so. 


Less than two minutes after Smith’s opening goal, the Spirit answered. Defender Dorian Bailey found Sanchez who found Ashley Hatch inside the box. Hatch buried the ball in the back of the net for her seventh goal this season.



This was Hatch’s fifth time scoring seven or more regular season goals in a season, equaling Christine Sinclair and Lynn Williams for the most seasons with seven or more goals in NWSL history. Her 37th regular season goal with the Spirit, she also tied Rachel Daly for fifth-most goals with one club in NWSL history. Sanchez assisted the goal, bringing her career Spirit assist total to six, tying her with Francisca Ordega for sixth all-time.  


A USWNT call-up for this summer’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Smith displayed why she is considered one of the best attackers in the world, netting a brace in the 22nd. It was the sixth brace of her career and launched her to the front of the Golden Boot race. The goal came from nearly an identical spot outside the box, making her the first player to score two goals from outside the box since she did so herself against Orlando in June of 2022.  


Smith would not relent, nearly scoring a hat trick in the 35th and 40th minutes. Her attacking – logging half of Portland’s ten first half shots and three of Thorns FC’s four shots on target – put the Spirit on the defensive for much of the first half. Thorns FC extended its league-high first half goal tally to 18 first half goals through the first 13 matches.  


At half, the Spirit finished with greater possession, final third entries, touches in the opponent’s box, shots inside the box and passes than Thorns FC, but had its back against the wall.  


Momentum suddenly changed seconds after the second half commenced as Sanchez scored another Spirit equalizer in the 46th. The ball played pinball inside the box before hitting Sanchez, who gathered and lobbed the ball perfectly for an upper-90 goal. Sanchez has now scored in three straight games – before this season, Sanchez had never scored in consecutive matches. Additionally, it marked the first time Sanchez had ever scored and assisted in the same game in her career.



Just as the Spirit answered in the first half, Thorns FC recorded a third go-ahead goal less than 90 seconds after Sanchez’s effort, scored by none other than Sophia Smith. It marks the second hat trick by Smith this season, helping her join Kristen Hamilton (2019) and Sam Kerr (2017) as the only players with multiple hat tricks in the same season.  


In the 63rd, Thorns FC essentially iced the game with a goal from Morgan Weaver. Four goals is the most given up by the Spirit this season. In fact, the last time the Spirit gave up four goals in a regular season match came on July 6, 2019 versus the Orlando Pride. Weaver’s goal was assisted by Sam Coffey, a notable USWNT omission, who now leads the NWSL with six assists. 


The Spirit witnessed three separate chances to cut the deficit, but all three failed. Hatch tried to one-touch a ball off service from Staab, but Portland keeper Shelby Hogan stuffed it tactfully. Rodman received similar service from Staab but placed the ball just above the woodwork. Finally, Staab got a ball of her own but sent it into the netting just above the goal.  


Providence Park, Thorns FC’s home stadium, has become one of the best home field advantages in the NWSL. The win tonight ties the side’s longest home unbeaten streak as Thorns FC has now remained unbeaten in ten straight matches at home, outscoring opponents 29-9 in those games. The Spirit has still never won in Portland in 12 attempts (excluding a forfeit). Portland usurps the Spirit and now holds the top spot on the NWSL table with 25 points. 


The Spirit returns home to face off against the Orlando Pride on Saturday, July 1 at 7 p.m. EDT. Tickets can be found here.   


-NWSL Match Report- 

Match: Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit 

Date: June 23, 2023 

Venue: Providence Park  

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. EDT 

Weather: Sunny, mid-70s


Scoring Summary: 

Goals  1  2  F 
Portland  2  2  4 
Washington  1  1  2 

POR – Sophia Smith – 11’ 

WAS – Ashley Hatch – 13’ 

POR – Sophia Smith – 23’ 

WAS – Ashley Sanchez – 46’ 

POR – Sophia Smith – 47’ 

POR – Morgan Weaver – 63’ 



POR: 18- Shelby Hogan; 2- Reyna Reyes; 5- Emily Menges; 20- Kelli Hubly; 14- Natalia Kuikka; 12- Christine Sinclair (13- Olivia Moultrie, 67’); 17- Sam Coffey; 19- Crystal Dunn; 22- Morgan Weaver (15- Michele Vasconcelos, 78’); 9- Sophia Smith; 8- Hina Sugita (46- Taylor Porter, 90’+3’) 

Unused Substitutes: 1- Bella Bixby; 24- Izzy D’Aquila; 25- Meghan Klingenberg; 21- Adriana Leon; 29- Tegan McGrady; 39- Meaghan Nally 

WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 14- Gabrielle Carle; 3- Sam Staab; 9- Tara McKeown; 19- Dorian Bailey; 7- Inès Jaurena (39- Chloe Ricketts, 67’); 12- Andi Sullivan; 26- Paige Metayer; 2- Trinity Rodman; 10- Ashley Sanchez (20- Civana Kuhlmann, 90’+1’); 33- Ashley Hatch (17- Nicole Douglas, 87’) 

Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 18- Lyza Bosselmann; 22- Amber Brooks; 25- Marissa Sheva; 24- Lena Silano; 27- Riley Tanner 


Stats Summary: POR / WAS 

Shots: 17 / 13 

Shots On Goal: 6 / 3 

Shots Blocked: 7 / 5 

Saves: 1 / 2 

Tackles Won: 15 / 13 

Fouls: 3 / 9 

Offsides: 1 / 1 


Misconduct Summary: 


Spread the love
In this Article