Sophia Smith missed three games in the last five weeks of the season, and played limited minutes in the final two, but in the end it didn’t matter. Her 11 goals were enough to secure her the 2023 NWSL Golden Boot.
The 23-year-old forward becomes the first Portland Thorns player to win the Boot after finishing second in the race last year. Her total is tied for the second-lowest to win the scoring title in NWSL history.
Even still, it was an impressive performance for Smith, who scored her 11 goals in just 17 matches. She had two hat tricks during the regular season, becoming just the third player in the league to have two in one season.
With those hat tricks, she solidified her spot atop the rankings. Her second three-goal performance came amid a scoring streak, during which she scored five goals in four matches. She became the third player in league history to have multiple scoring streaks of four or more matches in her career.
Smith stands in second place on Portland’s all-time scoring list. She also is the first player in club history to have double-digit goals in back-to-back seasons after scoring a franchise-record 14 goals in 2022.
She did it all while missing more than 40 days with an MCL sprain. And even then, she maintained her place atop some of the NWSL’s most important statistical categories, leading the league in goals, goals per 90, goals and assists, shots on target and shots on target per 90.
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