League MVP Smith struck in the fourth minute and was part of the play that led to Portland’s second score on a Current’s own goal. Addisyn Merrick shortly after halftime of the NWSL Championship game at Audi Field in Washington.
The victory makes it a record third NWSL title for the Thorns, who won the league’s inaugural championship game in 2013 and lifted the trophy again in 2017.
The current had a costly turnover before Smith took to the pitch, maneuvering around the goalkeeper Adrian Franch and neatly scored in the fourth minute.
Smith nearly scored another goal in the 27th minute, but his shot went just wide. She is only the second MVP recipient to score in the championship game, joining Lynn Williams for North Carolina in 2016. At 22, she is also the youngest player to score in a league final.
Moments after Merrick’s own goal, Morgane Weaver had a long shot but Franch got his hands on it before he hit the crossbar and stalked away.
The NWSL was shaken this month by the Yates report which showed systemic abuse and misconduct, spanning multiple teams, coaches and victims, with the Portland Thorns being one of the franchises at the center of the investigation.
Audi Field was nearly sold out for the game – which aired in prime time on network television for the first time – with some fans holding up a sign that read: “Support the players”.
Portland had a first-round playoff bye and defeated the San Diego Wave 2-1 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.
Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft and a member of the U.S. National Team, scored 15 goals for the Thorns during the regular season and playoffs and was also named Championship Game MVP.
The Current started playing in 2021 as an expansion team, with many of their players coming from the former Utah Royals. Last season they finished in last place in the league.
The Washington Spirit won the NWSL Championship last year.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.