The Portland Thorns won their second match of the 2023 NWSL season in style, defeating 2022 championship game opponents Kansas City Current by a 4-1 scoreline.
Sophia Smith took the headlines after scoring her first hat trick in NWSL play. The 2022 league MVP looked set to score every time she was on the ball, with ten total shots of her own, and five testing Current goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
“I love coming to play in a crowd that hates us,” Smith said in a record-setting attendance at Children’s Mercy Park.
Her first goal of the afternoon came from the penalty spot as Smith slotted her attempt away to give the Thorns a 2-0 advantage. Cece Kizer pulled one goal back for the Current in the second half, but Smith silenced the crowd yet again with an incredible dribble and finish for her second of the match.
The USWNT star completed her hat trick just four minutes later with a long-range shot into the bottom right corner.
The road victory made it a perfect six points to start Portland’s title defense.
“I think this group is something really special, even more special than last year,” Smith said.
Smith and the Thorns will look to continue their perfect start to 2023 on Friday as they host the Houston Dash.