The Portland Thorns rallied three times during Saturday’s NWSL rivalry game against the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. By salvaging a 3-3 draw, the Thorns remain undefeated in regular season NWSL competition (3-0-3).

“To find ourselves down three times is probably hard to wrap your head around,” Portland Thorns head coach Mike Norris said post-game. “To get the third one at the end, I’m really happy. I thought we could have pushed for the winner. But still just trying to wrap my head around how we went down three times in the game.”

Competing at home in front of 7,070 fans, North Carolina got on the board just 32 seconds into the game thanks to a cross from Courage defender Ryan Williams that was recorded as an own goal after it deflected off the foot of Portland defender Emily Menges. (A video highlight featuring all six goals is embedded below.)

Portland responded 20 minutes later, with Sophia Smith finding Crystal Dunn open right in front of Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy.

After Kerolin put the Courage up 2-1 just four minutes later, Dunn recorded a brace early in the second half to level the score for a second time. Now with four goals on the season, Dunn is tied for first in the golden boot standings with four other players (Debinha, Ashley Hatch, Alex Morgan, and Sophia Smith).

The Courage responded with a third go-ahead goal, this one from Victoria Pickett. Pickett, who joined North Carolina’s roster just last week via a trade with Gotham FC, reacted to her first home game at WakeMed Soccer Park on Twitter.

Thanks to all the incredible fans for making it known that #CourageCountry is the place to be,” she wrote. “I love it here.” 

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Moultrie, who subbed in for Thorns captain Christine Sinclair in the 67th minute, recorded the third and final equalizer of the night.

“(Natalia Kuikka) drove in and gave me a great pass and saw the space,” she said. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go for it.'”

“If you look at the impact (Olivia) has had the last two games, it’s impressive by any standard,” added Norris. “As a younger player, she’s pushing and challenging for a start. … Given the impact that she’s had the last two games, I couldn’t really ask any more of any player coming off the bench.”

While Moultrie is no longer the youngest player in the NWSL, it’s easy to forget she’s just 17.

When a reporter pointed this out on Twitter, Moultrie replied: “An old 17 though… 😂”

Saturday’s NWSL matchup was just the latest chapter in the fierce rivalry that has developed between Portland and North Carolina over the years.

“Each team steps into this game knowing it’s going to be a fight,” said Dunn, who played for North Carolina before joining Portland’s roster in 2020.

“Anyone who’s new to the NWSL: Welcome. This is exactly what these games are each week.”

Gotham FC have acquired 2021 Rookie of the Year finalist Victoria Pickett via trade from the Kansas City Current, the clubs announced Monday.

In exchange for the midfielder, Gotham FC will send Kansas City a first-round pick in the 2023 NWSL draft as well as $200,000 in allocation money. The pick will be either OL Reign’s natural first-round pick, acquired by Gotham FC in a previous trade, or Gotham FC’s second highest first-round draft pick.

Pickett notched a goal and an assist through 19 games during her debut season with the Current, and she has followed it up with over 1,000 minutes played during the team’s 2022 campaign.

“I’m ecstatic to welcome Victoria to Gotham FC,” general manager Yael Averbuch West said. “She’s a highly skilled player who adds the perfect blend of quality, experience, and youth to our midfield. With her passion for the game and drive to succeed, she’ll make an excellent addition to our roster on and off the field.”

Gotham FC currently sits last in the NWSL standings with a 4-11-0 record on the season.

The Kansas City Current narrowly defeated the Houston Dash 2-1 Friday night to collect three points in the NWSL Challenge Cup standings.

Kristen Hamilton opened scoring for Kansas City early, heading in a lofted cross to finish off an impressive effort from the Current and put the team up 1-0 in the third minute.

Just before the half, the Current’s Elizabeth Ball was awarded a yellow card following an incident with Shea Groom. The call sparked fierce debate between Kansas City players and the game official, with the replay of the interaction showing Ball’s arms down and Groom’s around Ball’s neck.

After Friday’s game, Hamilton told the press, “I’ll get fined if I speak on it, honestly,” then added: “Just go watch the replay.”

After the break, Houston came out on the front foot, with Groom heading in a well-placed María Sánchez cross at the back post to equalize in the 59th minute.

Pushing for a deciding goal, Kansas City capitalized off a failed Dash clearance in the 80th minute, as Victoria Pickett slotted in a loose ball for the game-sealing finish.

The 2-1 victory lifts the Current atop the Central Division standings, while Houston remains at the bottom of the group following three consecutive losses.