Saturday, October 1, 2016

NWSL Playoffs

Playoff time for the National Women's Soccer League begins this weekend.
The first semi-final match has already been played, with the Washington Spirit hosting the Chicago Red Stars. Looked like a pretty wet night out in Maryland just north of Washington D.C. More than four thousand fans still made it out to the match, though.

Washington looked like the better side through most of regulation time, in my opinion, with many more offensive chances and better ball control for about 75 minutes. They had the 1-0 lead at halftime on an Ali Krieger goal. Of course, since there's so few goals scored in most soccer games, it just needs to be close for both sides to have a chance. That's certainly how this one played out, with Chicago finally getting their offense going late and Christen Press getting the equalizer. She almost won it, too, but hit the crossbar on what looked like a near-certain shot at the end of regulation in stoppage time. That miss meant extra time, in which I thought both sides had some decent scoring chances. Only the Spirit were able to put one home, though, thanks to a great team effort with multiple passes right around the penalty area leading to a Francisca Ordega goal. That sent Washington to the NWSL final with a 2-1 win.

The other semi-final happens Sunday in Portland, with my Thorns playing the Western New York Flash. Portland finished the regular season strong, ending up on top of the standings to win the NWSL Shield. Looking forward to watching that one. Sadly, it's a long way from Michigan to Portland so I won't be there in person, but it'll be on FS1 and I can get that through Playstation Vue. I'll be ready in front of the TV with my Tobin Heath jersey on.

Regardless of who wins this weekend, I'll be watching the championship match next week. That's in Houston on Sunday October 9th. Of course, I'll be much happier if Portland is one of the participants - go Thorns!

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