Portland Thorns fall short in a close season-ending loss to Gotham

By John Hill (OPB)
Nov. 6, 2023 4:49 p.m. Updated: Nov. 6, 2023 5:09 p.m.

And OL Reign beat the San Diego Wave to advance to the NWSL final

Providence Park is pictured in Portland, Ore., Saturday, May 2, 2020. Major League Soccer took a significant step toward reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing it would allow teams to hold workouts for individual players.

Providence Park is pictured in Portland, Ore., Saturday, May 2, 2020. The Portland Thorns lost to Gotham FC on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Providence Park, ending their postseason run and falling short of returning to the NWSL championship match.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

The Portland Thorns’ defense of their National Women’s Soccer League title came to an end Sunday after losing 1-0 in extra time to Gotham FC in front of a sellout crowd at Providence Park.


Meanwhile, OL Reign beat the San Diego Wave and will advance to the final. That means Reign forward Megan Rapinoe, the former University of Portland star, could cap her career with an NWSL championship victory.

Gotham won the match in the 107th minute when Kristie Mewis made a short pass at the top of the 18-yard box to Katie Stengel, who took a few touches and curled a left-footed shot into the upper-left corner of the goal.


Portland had two opportunities late in the game to pull ahead. In the 78th minute, Crystal Dunn and Sophia Smith pushed up the field on a break, but Gotham keeper Mandy Haught intercepted Dunn’s pass.

Then, in the final minute of regulation, Smith delivered a cross at the top of the box to Morgan Weaver, whose shot was saved by Haught.

In the other semifinal, Veronica Latsko scored in the second half to give the OL Reign a 1-0 victory over the Wave.

Neither the Reign nor Gotham has won an NWSL final, which means the league will have a new champion in its 11th season. It also means Rapinoe and Gotham’s Ali Krieger will end their NWSL careers in a championship match. Both players intend to retire at the end of the season.

Gotham’s victory ended Portland’s chances to win a second straight title. The team had won 2-0 last year against the Kansas City Current, becoming the first NWSL team to win three championships — the team’s previous victories were in 2013 and 2017.

This year marked the Thorns’ ninth postseason appearance in the last 10 years.