I’m stepping on C.I.’s toes a bit here, but before this weekend’s critical match in Our House in the Middle of B.C. I wanted to post a brief note about the Wednesday night 1-1 home draw to Saprissa C.D. that knocked the Timbers out of the CONCACAF Champion’s League.
I can’t add much to William Conwell’s report at the Stumptown link above. Yes, it was a brutal hackfest. We think we have it bad here in MLS (as C.I. noted about the Colorado match this past weekend…) until we have to play under the indifferent gaze of CCL officials. This was a whole order of magnitude rougher.
It took the Western New York Flash three tries to figure out how to defeat Thorns FC this season.
Unfortunately, the third try was the one that counted the most.
Last Sunday afternoon Thorns FC won the NWSL Shield for the first time in their short history.
A convincing 1-3 away win over the Joisey Goils of Sky Blue – combined with a 3-1 Chicago demolition of the Washington Spirit – brought the only piece of NWSL silverware Thorns FC had not yet won home to Portland.
But, since this is Portland and, thus, incapable of doing things the easy way, first the visitors had to hand a gift goal to the home side.
But before we go on…let’s set the scene for Sunday.
As noted above, Chicago had whipped Washington the day before, leaving the Spirit a single point above Portland on the league table, so – with the win here in July giving Portland the tiebreaker – a draw or a win in Jersey would bring the Shield to Portland.
On the other hand…
Western New York’s beatdown of the lowly Breakers meant that a win in Jersey would also bring the Flash here this coming weekend for the semifinal. That seemed…less than suboptimal, to me, anyway.
Tanking the Sky Blue match seemed inconceivable. And yet…the notion of playing Chicago rather than Rochester in the semifinal seemed like such a…nicer option. So when I dropped into Bazi Bierbrasserie on the sunny Sunday afternoon I was honestly torn.
We’re less than a week away from the final matches of the 2016 NWSL season, and then Thorns FC is going to host a semifinal.
Ahhhh. I love the sound of those words, don’t you; “host a semifinal”. We’ve been waiting and hoping for this for four years. But…
...who could we see here come October 2nd?
The game’s not until Sunday, so c’mon…let’s speculate! (Updated 9/24 with the result of the WNY-Boston match)
I’ve been saying here all season that a home semifinal is the minimum standard for this 2016 Thorns season.
Level One Complete: Home Semifinal Achievement Unlocked.
Now that’s done? I don’t want to see the #@$!%#! Western New York Flash again until the Final…if then.
Early in the first half of Wednesday’s Houston match the Providence Park screen announced that due to the efforts of the Washington Spirit (defeating Seattle 2-1) the Portland Thorns had clinched a playoff position for the first time since 2014.
It’s pleasing to report that this news appeared to interest the team on the field not a whit.
Thorns FC went about their business and whipped the blue-and-orange visitors off the pitch 3-nil between excellent team (and individual) defending, an Allie Long brace, and two fairly appalling Lydia Williams goalkeeping howlers.
In January of 1842 a British army of some 4,000 infantry, cavalry and artillery began a forced march from the Afghan city of Kabul. A handful of survivors reached British India; the remainder of the entire column was killed or taken prisoner.
This past Sunday the unfortunate Boston Breakers discovered in the person of Nadia Nadim why Afghanistan is often referred to as “The Graveyard of Empires”.
The Thorns forward’s hat trick was one of the highlights of a 5-1 demolition of the visitors. The scoreline suggests domination…but the match wasn’t quite that simple.