The Thorns will be playing for their third National Women’s Soccer League championship. They won in 2013 and 2017.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Thorns will face the Kansas City Current on a neutral field Saturday for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship. The title match will be played at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Saturday at 5 p.m. on CBS.
The Thorns (10 wins, 9 draws, 3 losses) had the second-best record in the league this season and boast the league MVP in Sophia Smith. The 22-year-old forward scored 14 goals in 18 matches for the Thorns, a single-season record for the squad.
The Current (10-6-6) tied for third in the league this season. A team on the rise after finishing at the bottom of the league standings last season, Kansas City is led by midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta, who led the team with seven goals and four assists, and goalkeeper AD Franch, who tied for third in the NWSL with 66 saves.
Portland beat the San Diego Wave, 2-1, in stoppage time last weekend to advance to the championship match. Kansas City upset the top-seeded OL Reign 2-0 to advance.
It’s been a turbulent and emotionally taxing season for the Thorns and the NWSL with continuing fallout over an investigation that found systemic misconduct and abuse across the league.
The report detailed the Thorns’ handling of harassment and sexual coercion allegations leveled at former coach Paul Riley, who coached Portland in 2014-15. Two former players, Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, accused Riley of misconduct last year in a report in The Athletic.
After the investigation was released, the Thorns and Portland Timbers fired president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson and president of business Mike Golub, and shortly after that, Merritt Paulson stepped down as CEO of the Thorns and Timbers.
There have been calls for Paulson to sell the team, but at last Saturday’s semifinal match at Providence Park, an announced crowd of 22,300 showed up in full support of the players.
“I hope they can feel it,” one fan, Rachel Greenborough, who was at the game, told KGW. “It’s a lot they’ve been through and this entire community has been through and I hope they feel the love.”
This is the 10th season for the NWSL. The Thorns have won two championships, in 2013 and 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.