Thorns battle through opening win

Portland tames Kansas City 2-1 in spite of three late red cards

Cliff Pfenning
May 4, 2021

The 2021 women's soccer season finally began - with fans in the stands and red cards on the field Friday at Providence Park.

The Portland Thorns scored just eight minutes into their match with Kansas City and dueled to a 2-1 win in the NWSL Challenge Cup before several thousands fans.

But, the match was marred by two red cards to Thorns players - and one to a KC player. Then, after loudly protesting the second Thorns red card, Portland coach Mark Parsons was issued one, too.

Overall, though, it was a victory in the inaugural match of the season, which is separated into two parts: the Challenge Cup followed by the regular season.


Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is the publisher of, and has decades of experience in writing, photography, videography and graphic design. He's been a sportswriter in Oregon for more than three decades and has even taught sports broadcasting in Portland. He lives in North Portland in a house built in 1912 that has a backyard deck easily turned into a 'Top Golf' set-up for wiffle golf balls ... and cornhole.