The Portland Thorns are back...again.
After losing in the semifinals of the NWSL Challenge Cup, Portland Thorns FC played its first game at Providence Park in nearly a year and looked mighty impressive during it.
Portland defeated Utah Royals FC 3-0 in the first fan-less Providence Park NWSL match to begin the NWSL Fall Series.
"The goals that we scored were a culmination of the hard work we've been putting in these last few weeks," said Simone Charley after the contest.
Speaking of her, Charley got the scoring started in the 35th minute by dribbling through Utah's defense before sneaking the ball into the right corner of the net.
"It was an amazing ball by Lindsey [Horan,]" said Charley. "As I always say my teammates make my job so easy.
It was the first goal scored at Providence Park by Portland in 365 days.
Then, the headliner was when the first overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft, Sophia Smith, made her professional debut in the 69th minute. The rookie from Stanford was held out of the NWSL Challenge Cup due to a knee injury.
"It's exciting," Smith said after the match. "I think injuries are hard in so many ways and I've had to learn kind of how to be patient when I'm super close to being able to play but I'm just not quite there yet. There were several times where I felt good and I got into practice and started going a little bit more game-like, and not started going off again."
It wouldn't take long to make a mark as she scored her first career goal with a header inside the box in the 72nd minute.
"I'm just excited to keep playing and keep growing. Hopefully get more and more minutes in each game," said Smith. "I feel good and I feel healthy."
Horan wouldn't leave the contest with just an assist. The former NWSL MVP would get a goal after pressing the opposing goalkeeper to give the Thorns a three-goal advantage in the 81st minute.
Next, the Thorns will host OL Reign on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m. PT at Providence Park on Twitch.tv.