The final blow in Saturday’s gripping National Women’s Soccer League bout under the Carolina sunset came from a 17-year-old.
Hosts North Carolina Courage took the lead three times at WakeMed Soccer Park, but the Portland Thorns matched them, punch for punch, right down to the third and final equalizer of a 3-3 draw, scored by Olivia Moultrie. It was a scintillating strike worthy of praise in any setting and from any player, regardless of age.
Moultrie came off the bench in the 67th minute to replace club and Canadian legend Christine Sinclair, who is over twice Moultrie’s age. It was neither a debut game nor rookie season for Moultrie. If anything, it was a tangible turning point for a young player now experienced enough to take on a much larger role this summer.
“Obviously, I’ve had a different journey than most,” Moultrie said moments after her goal. “Just considering the fact that I have been with the team since I was 13, so this kind of environment of what this looks like, I have been in it for a while now. I think by the point that I was finally able to play, I just kind of felt ready for that moment. I had been building and preparing for so long that I just didn’t even need to think about it anymore; it’s just like, I finally get to do what I love, and that’s step on the field and play.”
Access the best women’s soccer coverage all year long
Start your FREE, 7-day trial of The Equalizer Extra for industry-leading reporting and insight on the USWNT, NWSL and beyond.