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Smith can play Saturday for Portland after additional punishment for red card is reversed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The National Women's Soccer League's Players Association stepped in when the Portland Thorns' appeal of a red card given to Sophia Smith two weeks ago was not only denied, but an additional suspension and fine was added.

As a result, Smith — the league's leading scorer — will play on Sunday when the Thorns host the undefeated Kansas City Current.

Smith, who also plays on the U.S. national team, earned a second yellow card in the waning moments of the Thorns' 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage.

The ball ended up on the sidelines and Smith was shown the card, apparently for time wasting when it appeared she moved the ball under the bench. A second yellow in a match results in a red card and means the player is suspended for the next game.

The Thorns appealed and an independent review panel denied it, adding a second game suspension for Smith and doubling her fine, the league announced on Tuesday.

Because the panel decided the appeal was "frivolous,” under league rules it determined Portland cannot make any other appeals through the end of the 2025 season and must forfeit a $10,000 bond.

The NWSLPA stepped in and appealed the punishment handed to Smith. An NWSL review committee upheld the appeal and rescinded the additional suspension and fine for Smith.

Smith served the automatic suspension last weekend against the Seattle Reign, a 0-0 draw.

However, the league said “Portland’s loss of its $10,000 bond and right to appeal for the 2024 and 2025 seasons will stand.”

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

The Associated Press