September 22, 2021

Olivia Moultrie, Portland Thorns’ 15-year-old phenom, could win her first trophy in WICC final vs. Lyon

On Thursday, at the age of 15, Portland Thorns FC midfielder Oliva Moultire scored the first professional goal of her young career on a free-kick in the 58th minute against the Houston Dash to tie the match at 2-all in the Women’s International Champions Cup. 

Thanks to her equalizer, an assist in 90 minutes, plus a converted penalty kick during the shootouts, Portland would go on to win the match and advance to the final against French outfit Olympique Lyonnais, one of the world’s top clubs, for a chance to earn her first title with the Thorns.

The Thorns are already 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup champions, and currently sit in first in the standings with a five-point advantage as they hunt for their second-ever league shield. 

“I think the first 30 [minutes] we didn’t play as much like ourselves,” Moultire said of the first half. 

“Then we just started being true to ourselves, and you can see what happened. We came back, got the two goals, and obviously it carried us through the penalties as well.”

Despite the her milestone performance, the young midfielder is embracing the next challenge in front of her. Facing seven-time UEFA Women’s Champions League winners Lyon in a long-awaited matchup between arguably two of the world’s best women’s soccer clubs. 

“Every single match is just as important as the last for us, no matter what tournament it’s in, or what league, or what game,” Moultire said. “So I’m super excited that it’s in [WICC], it could be in the league, or whatever but, I mean, but super excited to hopefully get [my] first championship win with Thorns.”

The WICC is taking place during the NWSL regular season, and Portland is currently in the process of welcoming back its Olympians from international duty. Moultrie’s goal won’t count in the NWSL record books, but it will stand as the first goal of her pro career. Thorns head coach Mark Parsons believes that the 15-year-old is just getting started, and is keeping things in perspective as his young player continues to develop.

“We have to remember she’s gonna have some amazing games in the future, but she’ll also have some not-so-good games, and she’ll get it right and she’ll get it wrong,” Parsons said. “This is a part of development. The very, very best in the world are still doing that. After 20 years, they have good and bad days, [Moultrie] is 15, that will happen to her as well, and right now she’s loving the moment, and she’s playing with no fear, and I think this is the best place to be.”

Parsons is also embracing the moment for his club, and believes that this is an opportunity for his side to make a statement and add another piece of hardware to the trophy case.

“What a wonderful, unique, opportunity,” Parsons said. “To play a team from Europe doesn’t happen very often or hardly at all. To play a fantastic team like Lyon probably happens, the chance of that is even less, so we’re ready. We’re ready. We’re excited to be at home and in our stadium and give this game to our fans and fight for a trophy is a fun position to be in.”

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