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Growing pains: Portland Thorns 3, Angel City FC 0

Taking our lumps this Challenge Cup

NWSL: Angel City FC at Portland Thorns FC Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough loss to OL Reign, Angel City FC had an opportunity to shake off the result with a quick turnaround between matches. The LA expansion side traveled to Portland to face off against the Thorns in a full midweek slate for the NWSL. The Challenge Cup wouldn't get any easy for ACFC, as the Thorns are another team not only stacked with talent, but boasting loads of experience. It was another moment of growth for the expansion side, losing 3-0 in a record-setting loss.

Much like the weekend, Angel City did well to start the match as the more aggressive side. Setting up several close chances, with Christen Press once again coming close to opening her account with a banger. Despite the hot start, the team were once again unable to prevent their opponents from getting looks as well. Luckily, at least early on, DiDi Haracic was doing all she could to keep the match scoreless.

Unfortunately, the Thorns have Sophia Smith, and Smith is in a form that probably doesn't exist on this plane of existence. The young forward showed why she's started to get consistent call-ups to the National team. After leaving a defender in her wake, she calmly finished with class to give the Thorns a first-half lead. Leaving ACFC headed into the halftime break down a goal.

Thorns wouldn't let up in the second half. They kept up the pressure, and it wasn't long before they were doubling their lead. Midfielder, Yazmeen Ryan, not only doubled the lead for her side, but the goal was her first as a professional.

Morgan Weaver drove the final nail in the coffin late in the second half with a rocket of a strike. It would be the final goal of the night with the team falling on the road, 0-3. Angel City were on the wrong side of history as this matched the record for largest margin of victory, at three goals. It was another reminder that this is still a team in the infant stages of its growth. While the brand has been cultivated for years, the on-pitch product is only weeks old.

The best thing the team can do is use this as another learning experience. As much as we all wanted to come out the gates strong and add a Challenge Cup trophy to the cabinet in year one, it's best to get all the growing pains out now. Get a chance to see what exactly needs improving. The time for hype has ended, and now its time to roll up those sleeves and really get to work. The team continues their road trip with a stop in San Diego this weekend as they look for their first Challenge Cup win against fellow expansion side, San Diego Wave FC.

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