Thorns capture second championship

Portland's 1-0 win over Carolina ends memorable season
Portland players celebrate.
Courtesy Portland Thorns FC.
Christine Sinclair played key roles in both of the Portland title seasons.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Midfielder Lindsey Horan scored in the second half, and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made five saves as the Portland Thorns beat the Carolina Courage 1-0 in the 2017 NWSL Championship at Orlando City Stadium in front of a crowd of 8,124.

Portland's win was its second league title after the team won the inaugural championship in 2013.

Horan's performance earned her the NWSL Championship Most Valuable Player Award.

Portland Thorns FC earned a berth to their second NWSL Championship in five seasons with a 4-1 win against the Orlando Pride at Providence Park on Oct. 7.

Thorns FC received goals from midfielder Amandine Henry, defender Emily Sonnett and forwards Hayley Raso and Christine Sinclair. Henry and Sonnett helped Portland jump out to a 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of goals in a three-minute span in the first 15 minutes, while Raso and Sinclair added goals in the final 20 minutes of the match.

The championship match featured the top two defenses in the NWSL. Portland and Carolina combined for 23 shutouts during the regular season, while allowing 20 and 22 goals, respectively. Offensively, Thorns FC tallied 37 goals, while the Courage scored 38 goals in 2017.

Individually, goalkeeper Franch set an NWSL single-season record for shutouts (11), while Sinclair became Portland’s all-time leading goal scorer (31) and Allie Long became the first player in club history to appear in 100 games.

As a team, Portland had the top defense in the NWSL for a second consecutive season, allowing the fewest goals (20) with the best goal differential (+17) and finished tied for the lowest goals-against average (0.83) in league history.