The North Carolina Courage continued their unbeaten season with a stunning 4-1 win over the Portland Thorns at Providence Park in Portland, OR. It was a relatively manageable game with Portland down 1-0 after the first half, but the Courage scored three goals in six minutes to take full control. For North Carolina, Lynn Williams scored a brace and both Sam Mewis and Debinha added one. Thorns defender Kat Reynolds scored her first career NWSL goal in her 100th appearance to spoil the shutout.
The Thorns remain in fourth place but fall to 4-4-3 (15 points). They are still level on points with third place Orlando Pride. The Courage, however, expand the lead they have at the top of the table with their 9-0-2 record and 29 points- 12 more than second place Seattle Reign.
First half was evenly matched with NC scoring first
The first half was an evenly matched affair, but the Courage were able to get on the board first courtesy of a penalty in the box. Reynolds took down Debinha in the box giving North Carolina a corner kick. Williams stepped up to take it and put it on the right side of goal. Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom guess right but wasn’t able to get a hand on the ball, making it 1-0.
After Portland captain Christine Sinclair earned a yellow card in the 38th minute, both sides traded scoring opportunities on each end in the final few minutes of the first half, but none came to fruition, keeping the score 1-0 after 45 minutes.
The flood gates open for the Courage
The first 13 minutes of the second half were chippy with fouls being called on both sides inhibiting either team from establishing a rhythm. In the 58th minute, Crystal Dunn dribbled up the right flank then crossed the ball to the far post where Debinha headed it in giving North Carolina the 2-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Jessica McDonald took a long throw in to Mewis who headed it back to Williams who took a left-footed volley to net her second goal of the game and third of the season, giving North Carolina a 3-0 lead.
The Courage put the match to bed two minutes later. McCall Zerboni flicked the ball off of a corner kick to Mewis who put it in the back of the net for her third goal of the season and giving North Carolina the 4-0 lead with less than half an hour left.
Portland pulled one back and spoiled the clean sheet late in the game. A foul outside the box set up a free kick for the Thorns. Tobin Heath sent the ball into the box where it bounced off of a Courage defender and landed at the feet of Reynolds who put it in the back of the net for her first career goal in her 100th NWSL appearance.
The Thorns don’t have any more matches before the impending international break, but the Courage have one more match this weekend. They take on the Houston Dash Sunday June 3. Kick-off for the match is set for 6:00 p.m. CT with the match streaming live on go90.