Becky Sauerbrunn is close to making her return for the Portland Thorns.

Thorns coach Mike Norris gave an update Thursday on the 38-year-old defender, as well as World Cup players Hina Sugita and Crystal Dunn, noting that “they’re all making progress.”

Dunn and Sugita both appeared in the Thorns’ most recent match, a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit on Aug. 27 as they work their way back from their World Cup runs. Dunn, a starting defender for the USWNT, played 19 minutes, while Japan’s Sugita played 30 minutes.

Sauerbrunn, though, hasn’t played since June 3. Her foot injury kept the longtime captain off the USWNT’s World Cup roster. Given Sauerbrunn’s uncertain timeline and availablity, head coach Vlatko Andonovski decided against bringing her to the tournament.

“And so I think it was always in the back of my head that this was a possibility,” she said on Snacks. “But until Vlatko called, I was holding out like 10% hope that I was going to make it.”

Still, a return for this NWSL season remained on the table, and it could come as soon as this weekend. She’s been back practicing, with Norris saying that getting her “back involved has been huge.”

“It’s day by day there in terms of how she’s responded to being back in the roster and how she travels and how she’s trained,” he continued. “But all three should be available this weekend.”

Morgan Weaver needed just one touch to put an exclamation mark on the Portland Thorns’ incredible scoring streak.

With 10 minutes left in regulation of a game on July 16, Weaver intercepted a pass from Gotham goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris intended for defender Mandy Freeman. As Freeman looped around to meet the ball, Weaver connected with her left foot and caught an unsuspecting Harris out of position.

Portland was already up 4-0 on Gotham when Weaver added to the tally, and her goal was one of 23 scored by 12 different Thorns players during an eight-game unbeaten streak heading into the break. The Thorns are also first in the NWSL with 29 goals so far this season.

The stretch was particularly impressive, as it came over a period of time when several key players were on international duty and the Thorns had to rely on a less experienced cast.

“In terms of connectivity, in terms of asking the team to play a certain way, (this stretch) couldn’t have gone better,” coach Rhian Wilkinson said. “We used our depth, we used new faces, and everyone knew their role and fought for one another.”

When the NWSL regular season resumes Friday night, the Thorns will look to keep up their streak against Racing Louisville FC. Before kickoff, here’s a look at the team’s 12 goal scorers.

Hina Sugita is making her NWSL debut after signing a three-year deal with Portland in January. (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Hina Sugita

Sugita is in her first season with the Thorns after playing eight years of pro soccer in Japan. The midfielder has scored three times this season, with two coming during the Thorns’ unbeaten stretch. All three goals have come off of her left foot and from inside the box. Sugita is also a member of the Japanese women’s national team.

Sophia Smith is second in the NWSL with eight goals this season. (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Sophia Smith

A member of the U.S. women’s national team, Smith notched five goals for the Thorns during their unbeaten streak before traveling to Mexico to help the USWNT win the Concacaf Championship. Smith is second in the NWSL with eight goals and first with 30 shots, 20 of which she put on goal.

Kelli Hubly

The defender’s header off a corner kick on June 3 against Angel City was her first and only goal of the season. She found herself unmarked and connected on the header in the 3-0 victory. Hubly has played in the NWSL for four seasons, and the June 3 goal was the first of her career.

Christine Sinclair

The Canadian scored twice against Angel City, and then again against the San Diego Wave, before taking up captain duties for her country during the Concacaf tournament. The 39-year-old has four goals this season for the Thorns and is currently second on the NWSL’s all-time goal scorers list with 58.

Olivia Moultrie is the youngest-ever NWSL goal scorer at 16 years old. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

Olivia Moultrie

When Moultrie scored her first of two goals so far this season in a June 12 win over Houston, she made history. The 16-year-old’s goal came in the 74th minute of a 4-0 win and made her the youngest scorer ever in NWSL play. The record was previously held by 18-year-old Ellie Carpenter, who was also playing for Portland at the time.

Becky Sauerbrunn, not known for her goal-scoring, added to Portland's tally during the streak. (Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Becky Sauerbrunn

Another experienced vet, Sauerbrunn has played professional soccer since 2005 while also appearing for the USWNT. The defender’s goal in a June 19 6-0 shutout of OL Reign was her first of the season and the first of her Thorns career. The 37-year-old also led the USWNT’s backline in the Concacaf tournament earlier this month.

Natalie Kuikka

The Finnish midfielder was signed to a two-year deal that started in 2021 after enjoying a successful collegiate career at Florida State. Kuikka scored nine goals during her four years as a Seminole, but her right-footed tally on June 19 was her first with the Thorns. She’s appeared in nine games for Portland this season.

Taylor Porter

The 24-year-old midfielder has scored twice for Portland this season. Her first goal was in the 6-0 win over OL Reign, and the second came in the 5-0 win over Gotham. This is her second season with the Thorns, after she signed with the team in 2021 when players from the USWNT were participating in the Olympics.

Yazmeen Ryan has one goal and four assists for Portland Thorns this season. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Yazmeen Ryan

Despite scoring just one goal this season — a header in a 1-1 draw with Angel City on July 1 — Ryan has been an active contributor to the Thorns’ offense this season. The 23-year-old midfielder leads the NWSL with four assists.

Marissa Everett

Portland re-signed Everett on Feb. 3 to a one-year deal. She initially joined the club in 2019 as a national team replacement player. The 24-year-old, who has played in five games this season, scored her first goal on July 16 while also registering a season-high four shots.

Hannah Betfort

Portland’s fourth goal in the win over Gotham on July 16 came off the head of Betfort, for her first of the season. The 23-year-old attacker played one minute in her debut for the Thorns on June 8 and has made six appearances since.

Morgan Weaver

The final goal during Portland’s unbeaten stretch leading into the break came off the left foot of Weaver. She has two goals in 10 games this season, the first coming in her debut on April 30 in a 3-0 win over Kansas City. Weaver joined Portland in 2020 as the second pick of the College Draft after scoring 43 goals at Washington State.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The Portland Thorns got one step closer to a spot in the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals with a 3-2 win over San Diego on Sunday.

While the Thorns sit second in Group B with 10 points, three points behind OL Reign, they have the best record out of any second-place team, which puts them in position for the fourth and final spot in the semifinals heading into the final weekend of the group stage.

The Thorns went up by three goals early, with Sophia Smith scoring one in the fourth minute. Rookie Hina Sugita then notched a brace, scoring goals in the 21st and 41st minutes to put the Thorns up 3-0 heading into the half.

“The message at halftime was to hold the standard and not get too comfortable,” said midfielder Sam Coffey. “Then we were flat and didn’t hold up to that standard — the Thorns standard.”

San Diego came out firing after halftime, with Bella Briede scoring her first NWSL goal in the 46th minute. Mere seconds into being subbed onto the field, Taylor Kornieck notched another in the 67th minute.

There were several other chances, including a volley from Alex Morgan that hit the right goal post. Portland’s Bella Bixby had four saves in the win.

“The piece that I am proud of today is that they stuck with it,” Thorns head coach Rhian Wilkinson said. “And to be a winning team, you have to win gritty games as well, and that’s what we did today.”