The NWSL's post-Women's World Cup boom continues.
The NWSL welcomed many of the USWNT Women's World Cup winners back to action last weekend to record breaking crowds and sellouts, with that post-tournament popularity continuing on Wednesday night for games played in Portland and New Jersey.
Over the weekend, a club record 17,388 fans turned out for Chicago Red Stars, while Orlando Pride recorded their highest attendance of the 2019 season so far. There were close to 16,000 at the game in Utah, and Washington Spirit sold out their 5,500-capacity stadium.
After welcoming back their USWNT stars on the road in Utah a few days ago, Portland's first home game since - featuring World Cup heroes Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnett and Adrianna Franch - drew a huge crowd of 22,329 at Providence Park.
Not only did it represent a new club record, it was threatening the all-time NWSL attendance record set by Orlando Pride at 23,403 when they played their inaugural game back in 2016.
The game itself proved to be something of a walkover for Portland, winning 5-0 against Houston Dash to strengthen their position and go four points clear at the top of the standings past the halfway stage of the regular season.
Horan, who later came close to scoring a spectacular bicycle kick but for a fingertip save by Jane Campbell, opened the scoring for the Thorns, who had a 4-0 lead inside just 23 minutes.
Wednesday night's only other NWSL game saw a sell out crowd 5,003 at Yurcak Field in New Jersey as Sky Blue hosted Washington Spirit. It was a first game since the World Cup for Sky Blue's Carli Lloyd and Washington's Rose Lavelle, who left France with the Bronze Ball award.
The only goal of the game was scored by Ashley Hatch in the second half as the visiting Spirit claimed all three points and left Sky Blue firmly rooted to the foot of the standings after a ninth loss of 2019.