NWSL Update: Portland Thorns Defeat Champions NC Courage to Advance
Just as North Carolina Courage looked ready to hoist the trophy for another year, Portland Thorns‘ determination triumphed. NWSL soccer thrills soccer fans with great action in Utah.
The NWSL was the first professional soccer league to return to play since the moratorium started in March due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. With the leadership of NWSL’s new commissioner, Lisa Baird, the league is flourishig even in the unprecedented uncertainty of 2020. Baird assumed the role in late February, just days before anyone could ever have even imagined the wreckage of the soccer season.
Read: NWSL NAMES LISA BAIRD AS COMMISSIONER • SoccerToday
Now the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup has entered into the quarterfinal stage and the soccer action is better than ever, with suspense and an incredible depth of passion.
The NC Courage vs Portland Thorns match was a great example of how anything can happen in the wonderful game of soccer.
With NWSL Coach of the Year Paul Riley leading his dedicated NC Courage squad and looking to capture another NWSL Championship title and the challenger Portland Thorns not the favorite to win — well, when the underdog stuns the soccer world by defeating the reigning champs, it makes news.
Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons was probably one of the few not surprised by the decisive victory. The match will also be remembered for a newcomer making a difference and a sub saving the day.
In many ways, Portland Thorns FC now advances to semifinals thanks to the talents of rookie Morgan Weaver.
Weaver scored her first and the team’s only goal in the NWSL Quarterfinal, giving Portland the necessary goal for the victory. Britt Eckerstom who was filling in for injured goalkeeper Bella Bixby made the win possible with amazing save after save.
In some ways, the match may have reminded long time fans of Lindsey Horan scoring in the 50th minute and leading her Portland Thorns squad to defeat NC Courage 1-0 to win the National Women’s Soccer League championship in 2017.
Houston Dash defeated Utah Royals FC on penalties to advance in NWSL Challenge Cup with the excellence of highly talented Jane Campbell who saved two penalties to secure the win for her club. Campbell played for Stanford and Darlington School before becoming a professional player.
Now the matches are set: