Miami Sports Day

Portland Claims NWSL Championship over North Carolina

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lindsey Horan scored the lone goal of the match and Adrianna Franch made six saves to lead Portland Thorns FC to a 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla. to claim the 2017 NWSL Championship.

The Thorns – who also won the inaugural NWSL championship in 2013 – become the second club in NWSL history with two league titles, matching the two championships won by FC Kansas City in 2014 and 2015.

Horan was voted MVP of the 2017 NWSL Championship, while Franch – who set an NWSL single-season for a goalkeeper with 11 shutouts – notched just the third clean sheet against North Carolina this year.

Including their two postseason victories, the Thorns finished the year unbeaten in their final eight matches – tied with FC Kansas City in 2015 for the longest such run to finish a season by an NWSL champion.

With the loss, North Carolina became the latest NWSL Shield winner unable to also claim the NWSL Championship in the same season.

The regular-season champion has never gone on to win the league title in the five-year history of the NWSL.

The Courage had been vying for a different type of title defense after the players and manager Paul Riley had won the 2016 NWSL Championship before relocating to North Carolina prior to the 2017 season.

With the victory, Portland coach Mark Parsons, 31, becomes the youngest coach to win an NWSL title.

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