Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji
The Portland Thorns became the first team in National Women Soccer League (NWSL) history to win a game after receiving a first-half red card on Sunday, defeating North Carolina 2-1.
Portland’s Kelli Hubly was sent off in the 17th minute for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, after which Tyler Lussi scored on a free kick.
The Thorns fought back despite having only 10 players for over 70 minutes and regained the top spot on the NWSL table.
United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) star Sophia Smith added to her Golden Boot-leading goal tally immediately upon subbing in for Portland to put the Thorns ahead.
Smith recorded her 11th goal of the season, extending her lead in the Golden Boot race to three over Ashley Hatch and Kerolin.
The match was plagued with broadcast issues, with Paramount+ losing the stream for over 12 minutes in the first half.
Fans also braved variable air quality to give Portland their highest attendance of the season thus far at 22,107.
USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf will not return to her position when her contract ends at the end of August.
The announcement of Markgraf’s exit comes soon after head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s resignation.
Her departure from the role was planned ahead of the World Cup and is not in response to the USWNT’s Round of 16 exit, according to the Equalizer.
It’s possible that U.S. Soccer will not refill the role, after declining to keep the general manager position on the men’s side earlier this year.
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