U-23 USWNT falls to Portland Thorns in 2022 Thorns Preseason Tournament
PORTLAND, Oregon – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team fell 3-0 to the Portland Thorns, led by forward Sophia Smith, in its second match of the 2022 Thorns Preseason Tournament.
On a cold night that featured steady rain, the speedy Smith, a rising star on the U.S. Women’s National Team, was blazing hot, scoring a first-half hat trick on a trio of classy finishes.
U.S. head coach Twila Kilgore made six changes to the U-23 WYNT lineup that drew 0-0 with the Chicago Red Stars on March 5, including the entire forward line, as Payton Linnehan, Ally Schlegel and Summer Yates got the starts up top.
The Thorns started a lineup of five regulars and six players with less experience, but it was team captain Christine Sinclair and Smith who were the difference.
Smith terrorized the U-23s in the first half, forcing three excellent saves from U.S. goalkeeper Meagan McClelland inside the first 13 minutes. In the 4th minute, McClelland batted away Smith’s drive from distance with a full out dive. In the 8th minute, she had to make a kick-save on another hard shot from Smith, this one coming from just outside the corner of the goal box on the left side, and in the 13th, McClelland dove to push a Smith’s rolling shot from 18 yards out just outside the right post.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) March 9, 2022
She could only hold Smith at bay for so long and in the 21st minute, the forward struck a shot that any goalkeeper would have a hard time stopping. She received a square pass from the left side from Sinclair, turned toward goal, evaded a defender with a nifty touch and hit a left-footed screamer from 10 yards into the upper right corner.
Less than a minute later, Smith doubled the lead after she blocked a pass from central defender Megan Bornkamp inside the USA’s defensive third and raced in on goal for a one-on-one chance. She calmy rolled the ball past McClelland and into the right side of the net to give the Thorns two goals in a matter of seconds.
Smith completed her hat trick in the 36th after she ran onto a perfectly chipped ball from Sinclair over the U.S. defense and touched it past the onrushing McClelland from six yards out.
The Thorns had 11 shots on goal in the first half, almost all of them from Smith, who left the game at halftime as the Thorns made four changes. McClelland played a fine match, making 10 total saves.
The USA played a much better second half, putting more offensive pressure on the Thorns, and almost stayed even on shots after the break, firing seven to the Thorns’ nine. The USA came closest to scoring in the 75th minute, when midfielder Croix Bethune, who captained the USA, hit the crossbar from just inside the penalty area.
The friendly tournament finishes on Friday, March 11 as the USA faces OL Reign at 5 p.m. PT and the Thorns take on the Red Stars at 7:30 p.m. PT.
- The U.S. roster is made up of all collegiate players and includes players from 12 different colleges.
- The U.S. team and bench staff wore black armbands in tribute to former U.S. Youth National Team and Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer, who tragically passed away last week.
- The match was the second for the U.S. U-23s since September 2019, with the entirety of 2020 and 2021 programming put on hold due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
-U.S. UNDER-23 WOMEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: March 8, 2022
Competition: Thorns Preseason Tournament
Venue: Providence Park; Portland, Oregon
Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. PT
Weather: 47 degrees, cold, rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
PTFC 3 0 3
PTFC – Sophia Smith (Christine Sinclair) 21st minute
PTFC – Sophia Smith 22
PTFC – Sophia Smith (Christine Sinclair) 36
USA: 1-Meagan McClelland; 3-Sydney Collins (5-Brianna Martinez, 64), 16-Cori Dyke (20-Jenna Nighswonger, 80), 6-Megan Bornkamp, 2-Kirsten Pavlisko; 18-Sophie Jones (4-Michela Agresti, 46), 10-Croix Bethune (Capt.), 8-Hannah Bebar (15-Anna Haddock, 46); 23-Summer Yates (7-Messiah Bright, 46), 9-Ally Schlegel (11-Alexa Spaanstra, 63), 21-Payton Linnehan
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Ruthie Jones, 13-Kate Wiesner, 14-Talia Staude, 17-Lia Godfrey, 19-Penelope Hocking
Head coach: Twila Kilgore
PTFC: 43-Shelby Hogan; 44-Gabby Provenzano, 5-Emily Menges (20-Kelli Hubly, 46), 39-Meaghan Nally, 46-Taylor Porter; 23-Yazmeen Ryan (17-Sam Coffey, 46), 14-Natalia Kuikka (25-Meghan Klingenberg, 78), 45-Natalia Beckman, 11-Rocky Rodriguez (21-Marissa Everett, 63); 12-Christine Sinclair (Capt.) (22-Morgan Weaver, 46), 9-Sophia Smith (41-Hannah Betfort, 46)
Substitutes not used: 1-Bella Bixby, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Hina Sugita, 15-Madison Pogarch, 19-Crystal Dunn, 35-Abby Smith, 47-Haley Miller
Head coach: Rhian Wilkinson
Stats Summary: USA / PTFC
Shots: 8 / 29
Shots on Goal: 2 / 14
Saves: 10 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 4 / 5
Offside: 0 / 2
Referee: Alyssa Nichols (USA)
1st Assistant Referee: Ryan Jung (USA)
2nd Assistant Referee: Hunter Zachweija (USA)
4th Official: Ricardo Fierro (USA)