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Looking back at the Portland Thorns’ 2022 season

The team is on the verge of winning a record-breaking third NWSL chamionship, and it’s been a memorable journey to get there

A fan of the Portland Thorns waves a flag against a backdrop of red smoke

No one supports their team quite like the Rose City Riveters.

Photo by Ray Terrill

Fittingly, the Portland Thorns’ 2022 NWSL season will end how it began — against the Kansas City Current.

Of course, a lot has happened since that opening match way back in April, and when the two teams next meet, the stakes will be much higher. On Sat., Oct. 29 at 5 p.m., they will play for the title in Washington D.C., the home of last year’s winners. With a victory, the Thorns would become the only three-time champions in the NWSL.

In anticipation of the big game — and to distract us from our nerves — we’re looking back at what we’ll remember most from the year.

All of those goals. The Thorns put the ball in the net 49 times across 22 games, their highest league tally ever. Along the way, 14 different players contributed to the score sheet.

Looking at the league’s best XI, you’ll see lots of red and black. Forward Sophia Smith (congrats to the MVP) and rookie midfielder Sam Coffey landed on the first team, with defenders Kelli Hubly and Becky Sauerbrunn included on the second team.

She may not have received any official awards, but watching Hina Sugita glide around the midfield with infectious positive energy was a delight — just ask the “Hina Hive.”

Clutch game winners from Morgan Weaver will never get old, nor will the semifinal wonder strikes from Rocky Rodriguez and Crystal Dunn.

For all the highs, there were somber lows. The well-documented off-the-field scandals cast a shadow on a phenomenal season from the Thorns and first-year head coach Rhian Wilkinson, but they persevered in spite of it all.

For some fans, it was difficult to separate the sport from the businessand understandably so. But the way the supporters made sure that they had the team’s back was unforgettable.

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