Sophia Smith’s strike helps put Portland back on top of the table

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Mere days after receiving high praise from San Diego NWSL president Jill Ellis as one of the league’s key “up-and-comers,” Smith backed up the designation in Portland’s 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride on Sunday.

Smith cut through multiple Pride defenders in the 26th minute to strike one home for her third goal of the season and to put Portland up 1-0. 

The goal helped the Thorns, who eventually won 2-1, land atop the league standings with a record of 6-3-1 and 19 points. The Thorns and the Pride (16 points, 4-3-4) were tied heading into Sunday’s matchup along with three other teams at 16 points apiece. 

Marissa Everett doubled the Thorns’ lead in the 59th minute for her first goal of the 2021 season. Marisa Viggiano got one back for the Pride in the sixth minute of stoppage time to prevent the clean sheet. While she did not get the shutout, Thorns’ goalkeeper Bella Bixby did set the record for most shutout minutes to start an NWSL regular-season career.

The Thorns are back in action with a chance to extend their lead against the Houston Dash on Saturday, July 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET.