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Courage Finally Allow Goal, Fall to Portland, 1-0

by Fran Stuchbury
September 13, 2021 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage

North Carolina Courage vs. the Portland Thorns
North Carolina Courage vs. the Portland Thorns
(North Carolina Courage, Credit: Fran Stuchbury)

The North Carolina Carolina Courage fell 1-0 to the first place team in the National Women's Soccer League, the Portland Thorns, at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday in front of 5,161 fans. The game was nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

"Yeah, it wasn't a good enough performance today," Courage head coach Paul Riley said. "We didn't create enough chances and the ones we did, we didn't put them away. They deserved to win the game; we didn't play anywhere near how we can play."

The Courage will play the Thorns one more time in the regular season at Portland on October 30th. Six teams qualify for the NWSL Playoffs with the top two teams receiving byes in the first round. The NWSL Championship will be played in Portland on Saturday, November 20th.

Portland scored the only goal in the game by Sophia Smith. It was her team-leading sixth goal of the season for the Thorns. Smith was the first overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft. She played at Stanford University, helping her team win the National Championship in the 2019 season.

Christine Sinclair tallied her first assist of the 2021 campaign. Sinclair was the 11th player to register an assist for Portland this season.

Prior to giving up a goal in the 57th minute, the North Courage set a new NWSL record for consecutive shutout minutes (546). The prior shutout record was 518 by the Seattle Reign in the 2018 season.

This was the Portland Thorns first ever road match victory against the North Carolina Courage.

Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons registered his 80th career NWSL win. He has earned at least 11 wins in each of five regular seasons with the club.

With the loss, the Courage are now in third place in the NWSL standings with 29 points, three points behind second-place OL Reign and six points behind the first-place Portland Thorns.

The North Carolina Courage's next game is on the road on Saturday, September 25th against NJ/NY Gotham FC. Their next home game will be Friday, October 1st against the Washington Spirit.

Images from this story

North Carolina Courage vs. the Portland Thorns
North Carolina Courage vs. the Portland Thorns

(Fran Stuchbury)

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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