Olivia Moultrie, 15, scores first pro goal as Thorns advance to WICC final in dramatic fashion

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Olivia Moultrie, the 15-year-old soccer phenom who sued the NWSL for the right to sign a professional contract, notched her first career goal at a critical moment for the Portland Thorns. 

Moultrie scored on a free kick in the 58th minute of a Women's International Champions Cup (WICC) match against the Houston Dash on Wednesday night that made it 2-2. She later converted a penalty kick as Portland won, 3-1. It'll next play Olympique Lyonnais in the Cup championship on Saturday. 

Olivia Moultrie
Olivia Moultrie, center, celebrates her first professinal goal with Portland Thorns FC teammates in the Women's International Champions Cup competition. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Moultrie scores first professional goal

Moultrie turned professional at 13 and signed a marketing deal with Nike, but wasn't able to play in games because of the NWSL rule that players have to be 18 to play on the top-level club. She practiced with the Thorns and this summer filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league

A judge granted a preliminary injunction in June and though the NWSL appealed the judge's decision, the two sides reached a settlement. 

Moultrie made her debut July 3, becoming the youngest player to appear in a league match, and now has her first professional goal in her seventh appearance.

"I'm just so glad it went in, because all I cared about was winning the game, and for us moving on to the next match. And that's what we did," Moultrie said, via the Associated Press. "So I couldn't be more happy."

There is still a bit more history for Moultrie. The match is part of the exhibition WICC, described as the international championship for professional club teams, and is not a league match. She has yet to score a goal in NWSL play, but has an assist. 

Portland advances to WICC final 

The 2021 WICC consists of Lyon, the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League winners; Barcelona, the 2020 Spanish league champ; the Thorns, NWSL's fall series title winners; and the Dash, winners of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. 

In the match of NWSL clubs, Shea Groom scored both Houston goals to go up, 2-0, by the 41st minute. Natalia Kuikka cut it in half in the 51st minute and Moultrie equalized seven minutes later. 

Thorns goalkeeper Shelby Hogan, making her pro debut after the club traded USWNT keeper Adrianna Franch, made three saves in the shootout and Simone Charley made the ultimate PK winner. 

Lyon advanced past Barcelona, 3-2, on an 85th-minute goal by Melvine Malard. Lyon is the reigning WICC champion from 2019. The competition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The women's side of the ICC began in 2018 and there are plans to expand the number of teams. 

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