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Banda's two goals keep Pride undefeated in NWSL

Barbra Banda Barbra Banda - The Canadian Press

Barbra Banda was involved in all four of Orlando's goals as the Pride beat the North Carolina Courage 4-1 on Wednesday night to remain one of three undefeated teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The Pride (4-0-3) scored first in the 29th minute when Banda received the ball deep in her defensive half and dribbled by several Courage players before passing to Ally Watt, who tucked her shot around goalkeeper Casey Murphy.

Watt returned the favor in the 40th minute, crossing a ball from the left that an unmarked Banda redirected into the net.

Right before halftime, Banda got around the Courage defense again and had her shot pushed away by Murphy, but Julie Doyle pounced on the rebound for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Banda wove through several Courage defenders to score her second goal in the 77th minute. The Zambian forward now has three goals and two assists in her first two starts.

The Courage (4-3-0) didn’t have a single shot on target but forced an own goal in the second half.


Trinity Rodman had a goal and assist and the Washington Spirit won 4-2 on the road against the Chicago Red Stars.

Brittney Ratcliffe also scored twice for the Spirit (5-2-0), while Croix Bethune had three assists, becoming the youngest player in league history with that many in one match. The rookie now has three goals and four assists.

The first shot for either team produced the first goal in the 28th minute. Bethune slipped a pass into the box for Rodman, who finished with a shot into the far post corner.

Two minutes later, Rodman cut the ball back to Ouleymata Sarr, who struck into the upper right corner with her first touch.

Ally Schlegel got one back for Chicago (3-3-1) in the 79th minute, pouncing on a rebound.

Bethune and Ratcliffe combined for two goals just a few minutes later. Ratcliffe ran onto Bethune's long ball and her shot went off the upper right post and into the net in the 83rd minutes. Three minutes later, Bethune found the forward in the box, and Ratcliffe finished.

Chicago's Leilanni Nesbeth scored the first goal of her career when she pounced on a clearance at the top of the box in the 92nd minute.


Sophia Smith scored twice to give the Portland Thorns a 3-2 road win over expansion club Bay FC.

The 2022 NWSL MVP now has a league-leading seven goals, and Portland (3-3-1) has won three straight after going winless in their first four games.

Portland's Payton Linnehan snuck a shot into the near-post corner just two minutes into the match.

Smith, who assisted on that goal, doubled the lead in the 7th minute — running onto Linnehan's pass and cutting around goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx before finishing into an open goal.

Racheal Kundananji had a goal and an assist for Bay FC (2-5-0).

Kundananji cut back to her right foot and shot into the upper right corner just before halftime.

She made a long run into the box in the 60th minute and passed to Deyna Castellanos for the equalizer.

Smith scored the winner in the 78th minute when her shot snuck through Proulx's hands.


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