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Thorns’ Olivia Moultrie becomes youngest goal scorer in NWSL history

Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie is just 16 years old. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie became the youngest goalscorer in NWSL history Sunday at the ripe old age of 16 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days.

She scored the Thorns’ third goal of the game in the 74th minute.

In the 82nd minute, Moultrie provided an assist for Sophia Smith on Smith’s second goal, and Portland sealed a 4-0 over the Houston Dash. Goalkeeper Bella Bixby recorded the clean sheet.

Moultrie earned a place in the starting lineup just before the opening kickoff.

She replaced an injured Christine Sinclair, who was a last-minute scratch after reportedly suffering a calf strain during warmups, according to The Oregonian. While the injury isn’t believed to be serious, Sinclair was held out of the match as a precautionary measure. She will receive further evaluation at home in Portland.

“Who doesn’t get excited about, first, being able to come on for somebody like Christine Sinclair? Obviously that’s super cool,” Moultrie told Fox Sports after the match. “Second, any start in this league – especially with this team – is really exciting, really special to me.”

It was a quick turnaround for Moultrie, who found out she would be making the start two minutes after warmups.

“I was already preparing myself to hopefully go on at some point,” she said, adding that everyone on the team was encouraging prior to her start. “For it to happen that fast, I was trying to get ready right away.”

Last year, Moultrie was involved in a legal battle with the NWSL. Then 15 years old, she challenged an NWSL rule that prohibits any player under 18 from playing in the league. She won that battle and became the youngest player to sign with a team in league history.

In August of last year, Moultrie scored her first professional goal during the Women’s International Champions Cup.

During 2021, she made nine appearances for Portland. She has played in four games so far this season.