Thorns Go Winless in NWSL Preliminary Round, to Face Courage in Quarterfinals

Author:
Publish date:

HERRIMAN, Utah (AP) — The Portland Thorns will face top-seeded North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup after wrapping up the group stage with a scoreless draw with the rival OL Reign on Monday.

The Thorns were winless in the opening round to finish last among the eight teams playing in the tournament, which was wrapping up group stage matches Monday.

Sophia Huerta, acquired by the Reign in the offseason, made her first start and had one of the team’s best chances late in the first half. Taylor Smith was open in the 61st minute but her shot went wide.

Portland controlled possession for most of the first half but Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos saved attempts from both Christine Sinclair and rookie Morgan Weaver. Raquel Rodriguez got a long-range shot from the top of the box in the final minute of regulation but Betos scooped it up.

The Reign saw the return of Jessica Fishlock, who hadn’t played since last season because of an ACL injury. She came in as a sub in the 72nd minute.

Lindsey Horan did not play for the Thorns after scoring in the team’s last game, a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit.

All eight teams in the tournament advance to the knockout round. The league’s ninth team, the Orlando Pride, was forced to withdraw because of positive COVID-19 tests.