July 16, 2017 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - North Carolina FC
Cary, NC (July 15, 2017)- The North Carolina Courage's hard fought battle in Portland ended in an unfortunate 1-0 loss to the Thorns on Saturday afternoon. Hayley Raso's second half goal was unmatched by the Courage, resulting in NC's fifth defeat of the season. Despite the loss, the Courage still have enough points to remain at the top of the table with 27.
The NC Courage wasted no time settling into its attack. Lynn Williams connected with Debinha at close range, but the Brazilian was snuffed by a panicked Adrianna Franch in the seventh minute. Just a minute later, standout rookie Ashley Hatch took a confident shot on frame that was again stopped by Franch.
After a brief lull in the match, Makenzy Doniak woke Franch up again in the 34th minute when the outside midfielder played a dangerous cross into the box. Doniak's phenomenal placement forced the goalkeeper to make an important decision to snag the cross, keeping it from finding a Courage attacker.
The NC Courage made a final first-half effort when defender Taylor Smith's cross found Hatch's head in the 45th minute, but Hatch's attempt went high.
The second half opened up with a strong defensive effort from North Carolina. Katelyn Rowland came up big in the 52nd minute to deny Canadian legend Christine Sinclair from finding the first goal of the match. Minutes later, Zerboni opened up the attack with a solid shot from outside the box that tested Franch yet again.
An unfortunate clearance in the 70th minute led to Portland's goal. Meghan Klingenberg recovered the clearance and her cross found the head of Raso. Raso's header was tipped by Rowland, but her effort was not enough to keep the ball from finding its way in.
Smith nearly tied up the match in the first minute of added time, but her attempt bounced out off the top of the crossbar. The NC Courage searched for the equalizer in the boisterous Portland environment, but were unable to capitalize in the final minutes of the match.
The North Carolina Courage wraps up its two game road trip as it visits FC Kansas City on Saturday, July 22. The Courage returns home to Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer park on Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Seattle Reign FC. Tickets are available at NCFCTix.com or by calling the box office at 919.459.8144.
Lineups POR: Adrianna Franch; Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Meghan Klingenberg, Celeste Boureille; Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Ashleigh Sykes (Meghan Cox, 74'), Hayley Raso (Kelli Hubly, 84'); Christine Sinclair ©, Tyler Lussi (Mallory Weber, 80')
Subs not used: Britt Eckerstrom, Kendall Johnson, Katherine Reynolds, Ashley Herndon
NCC: Kate Rowland; Abby Erceg (C), Taylor Smith, Abby Dahlkemper, Jaelene Hinkle; Makenzy Doniak (Steph Ochs, 80'), Sam Mewis, McCall Zerboni, Debinha (Liz Eddy, 72'); Lynn Williams, Ashley Hatch (Jess McDonald, 63')
Subs not used: Sabrina D'Angelo, Sam Witteman