The Portland Thorns won the 2022 NWSL Championship by a score of 2-0. Portland became the first team to win three NWSL Championships and it was a cathartic moment for a team that had been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The Kansas City Current had their moments but could never find the groove that brought them to the Championship game. It was a heartbreaking end for a Kansas City side that overachieved all season, setting and raising the bar for NWSL teams.
The Current went with the same lineup from their semifinal win over OL Reign while the Thorns made one change to the team starting eleven that beat San Diego Wave, adding Christine Sinclair in the midfield for Hina Sugita.
Portland came out strong earning a quick set piece attempt that was blocked but the Thorns took the lead a couple of minutes later. A Kansas City turnover set up Sophia Smith running at Elizabeth Ball. The Current defender attempted to tackle the ball away from the NWSL MVP but instead just played into the run. AD Franch was left with no options as Smith slotted it in for a goal.
.@sophsssmith puts @ThornsFC up EARLY early #NWSLChampionship | #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/AJsIsB9r5S— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 30, 2022
With the Thorns up 1-0, Kansas City pushed forward, creating a set-piece opportunity that was not on goal. Both sides were pushing hard to go forward. Portland controlled most of the play over the next 20 minutes but could find another goal Smith did just miss the far post on an excellent run.
When the Current went forward, they struggled to find the final pass. The best chance for Kansas City came when a ball was crossed to the back post where Kate Del Fava headed it looping over Bella Bixby but also over the crossbar.
The match went into halftime with the Thorns up 1-0.
That's ✌️ for @ThornsFC as a loose ball in front of goal finds its way in! #NWSLChampionship | #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/FnBEATRFDg— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 30, 2022
Portland came out attacking again, threatening the KC backline. Yazmeen Ryan created the next goal for Portland when she whipped a low cross into the Kansas City box. Addisyn Merrick collided with AD Franch as she tried to gather the ball before it bounced off Merrick and into the net for an own goal.
The downfall of the Current was self-inflicted mistakes but an extremely deep Thorns side was always going to be a challenge.