U-23 USWNT falls to Portland Thorns FC 4-1 in Thorns Preseason Tournament
PORTLAND, Oregon – Despite an excellent effort that kept the match tied until the 84th minute, the U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team fell 4-1 to host Portland Thorns FC in the second of three matches at the Thorns Preseason Tournament.
Forward Sarah Weber from the University of Nebraska tallied for the USA in the 13th minute in her first camp with the U-23s. Izzy D’Aquila, the 12th overall picked in the 2023 NWSL Draft out of Santa Clara, equalized in the 73rd, and the Thorns put away the young Americans three goals in the final eight minutes, scoring in the 84th via forward Sophia Smith, the 90th from forward Morgan Weaver and in the first minute of stoppage time from Japan international Hina Sugita.
The U.S. team, playing with a roster made up entirely of collegiate players and after only a few days of training together, faced off against Thorns starting eleven made up of mostly reserves, but it did feature Canadian legend Christine Sinclair, Costa Rica legend and former MAC Hermann Trophy winner Rocky Rodriguez, and veteran defender Emily Menges.
While the match was played in cold temperatures (mid-40s), there was no rain and the U.S. U-23s picked up a big dose of experience at the famed Providence Park.
U.S. goalkeeper Ryan Campbell played a stellar game and kept the match scoreless in the 10th minute with a brilliant save when she dove to her right to palm away a shot from forward Michele Vasconcelos that had deflected off a defender. Campbell had to change direction and then flew to get her right glove on the ball to put it out for a corner kick.
Seconds later, a brave slide in the box by captain and central defender Talia Staude denied a chance inside the penalty box from forward Hannah Betfort, who had sprinted into the U.S. defensive third off a counterattack. Staude had another brave clearance in the 60th, sliding in traffic to clear a dangerous cross on the ground that came in from the left wing.
The USA then scored on its next foray down the field as U.S. forward Brittany Raphino earned a corner kick. The initial cross was cleared, but it fell to outside back Kate Wiesner on the left wing. She settled and then sent a bending cross to the far post where center back Eva Gaetino got her head on the ball to keep it alive, bouncing it down into the pack of players inside the penalty area. Weber dug the ball out of the feet of Rodriguez, turned toward goal and finished well high into the left corner from 10 yards out.
In the 25th minute, Campbell came out of her penalty area to head away a through ball, but the clearance fell to D’Aquila, who had come on in the 20th minute for an injured Janine Beckie, and she tried to chip the U.S. goalkeeper from more than 30 yards, only to see the ball fly over the crossbar.
In the 40th minute Campbell, positioned at the right post, made another great save, diving her to left to turn away a driven shot from Betfort, who had been slipped in behind the defense via a deft scooped pass from Rodriguez.
The USA made four subs at halftime and five more in the second half, while the Thorns made one at halftime and six in the second half, including four with about 18 minutes left to play, among them USWNT stars Smith and Crystal Dunn, as well as Weaver, and those changes immediately paid dividends. Dunn beat her defender down the left wing and flighted a perfect cross D’Aquila, who powered home a header into the lower left corner from eight yards out to tie the game.
Campbell kicked away a D’Aquila shot from close range in the 80th minute to keep the game deadlock, but soon after the Thorns got the game-winner and predictably, it came from Smith, the reigning NWSL MVP and 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. After another Dunn cross from the left side found D’Aquila, her blistering volley was blocked by U.S. defender Ellie Wheeler. The rebound bounced out to Smith at the top of the penalty area and she settled before bending her shot from 19 yards into the lower right corner.
Weaver scored the third with an excellent finish into the upper right corner in the 90th minute and Sugita finished it off, tallying in stoppage time when she scored off rebound after Campbell had made an excellent diving save off another drive from Weaver.
The tournament concludes on Saturday, March 18 as the USA faces Racing Louisville at 5 p.m. PT and the Thorns take on the OL Reign at 7:30 p.m. PT. None of the matches are being streamed.
-U.S. UNDER-23 WOMEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States U-23 Women’s National Team vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: March 15, 2023
Competition: Thorns Preseason Tournament
Venue: Providence Park; Portland, Oregon
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT
Weather: 45 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
POR 0 4 4
USA – Sarah Weber 13th minute
POR – Izzy D’Aquila (Crystal Dunn) 73
POR – Sophia Smith 84
POR – Morgan Weaver (Hina Sugita) 90
POR — Hina Sugita 91
USA U-23:1-Ryan Campbell; 9-Quincy McMahon (10-Ayo Oke, 68), 19-Eva Gaetino (8-Lauren Flynn, 46), 20-Talia Staude (Capt.), 6-Kate Wiesner (15-Peyton Linnehan 74); 17-Sarah Weber (11-Jillian Shimkin, 57), 22-Annie Karich (21-Sunshine Fontes 46), 18-Felicia Knox (16-Lexi Missimo 68); 24-Brittany Raphino (3-Reilyn Turner, 46), 13-Taylor Huff (7-Ellie Wheeler, 46), 2-Avery Patterson (14-Simone Jackson, 68)
Subs not used: 12-Neeku Purcell
Head Coach: Margueritte Aosaza
Portland Thorns:18-Shelby Hogan; 45-Natalie Beckman (14-Natalia Kuikka, 62), 44-Gabby Provenzano, 5-Emily Menges, 39-Meaghan Nally (2-Reyna Reyes, 72); 46-Taylor Porter (9-Sophia Smith, 72), 11-Rocky Rodriguez (17-Sam Coffey, 62), 12-Christine Sinclair (Capt.) (19-Crystal Dunn, 71); 16-Janine Beckie (24-Izzy D’Aquila, 20), 33-Hannah Betfort (22-Morgan Weaver, 72), 15-Michele Vasconcelos (8-Hina Sugita, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Bella Bixby, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 13-Olivia Moultrie, 20-Kelli Hubly, 25-Meghan Klingenberg
Head Coach: Mike Norris
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 6 / 23
Shots on Goal: 2 / 7
Saves: 5 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 6
Fouls: 6 / 3
Offside: 1 / 2
POR – Lauren Flynn (Caution) 58th minute
Referee: Dion Coxe (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Aaron Scott (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bryan Juarez (USA)
4th Official: Lucas Brooks (USA)