Sophia Smith wasted little time in her return from the Women’s World Cup, scoring the go-ahead goal one minute after taking the pitch as a second-half substitute in Portland’s 2-1 victory over North Carolina on Sunday in Portland, Oregon.
The win lifted Portland (8-4-4) over North Carolina (8-6-2) in the league standings, with 28 points to 26 points for the Courage, and capped the league’s weekend return to action after breaking for the Women’s World Cup.
Smith, a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team and reigning NWSL MVP, chased down a pass from Morgan Weaver and converted from short range in the 69th minute.
The Thorns were a player down for most of the match after Kelli Hubly was shown the red card in the 17th minute. North Carolina took advantage when Tyler Lussi converted the free kick. The goal was allowed following a VAR review.
Portland tied the score in the 41st minute when Hannah Betfort right-footed a shot from the right side of the six-yard box to the bottom left corner. Olivia Moultrie got the assist.
PRIDE 5, RED STARS 0
Rookie forward Messiah Bright scored twice and Orlando defeated visiting Chicago, giving the Pride a clean sheet for the third consecutive match.
Bright, the NWSL scoring leader among first-year players, scored in the 24th minute and again in the 49th for her first career brace.
Orlando led 2-0 at halftime then added three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Rafaelle Souza gave the Pride a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute, scoring on a header from the center of the box to the bottom right corner. Adriana had the assist with a cross following a corner.
Bright made the score 2-0 when she bent a right-footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. The assist went to Julie Doyle.
Early in the second half, Bright left-footed a shot from the left side of the box to the center of the goal after Marta set her up with a through ball.
In the 64th minute, Mariana Larroquette took a pass from Mikayla Cluff and right-footed a shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner.
Cluff capped the scoring in the 68th minute, taking a pass from Adriana then right-footing a shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner.
Orlando last had three straight clean sheets in 2016, the only other time in club history.
___ AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer