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Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns take lead in NWSL standings

Sophia Smith #8 of the Portland Thorns FC and Freja Olofsson #7 of the Racing Louisville FC battle for the ball during the game at Lynn Family Stadium on July 29, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Portland Thorns have dethroned the San Diego Wave atop the NWSL standings.

Securing three points with a 2-1 win over Racing Louisville Friday night, the Thorns moved two points ahead of the Wave into first place.

Sophia Smith returned from her U.S. Women’s National Team duty with a bang, scoring in the game’s seventh minute to put Portland up 1-0 early. After beating her defender, Smith pulled off a tricky angle to bury her ninth goal of the season. Her latest performance puts Smith two goals back behind Golden Boot leader Alex Morgan.

“The team really gritted it out,” head coach Rhian Wilkinson said after the game. “I don’t think we were our best through the night, but it’s important for teams like mine who can dominate games, some games you’re off, you’ve just gotta grind out wins.”

The Thorns will take the pitch again on Friday when the club hosts the North Carolina Courage at Providence Park.