…with the retirement of defender Kat Williamson…
…and the LCL surgery of Nadia Nadim.
When you play a game at 5,280 feet, you better get your goals early, because you’re gonna be too tired to get ’em late.
tl;dr, the Timbers didn’t get their goals early.
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.
The Portland Timbers went to Houston this weekend and stumbled around drunkenly for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Portland Thorns went to New Jersey and won the Supporter’s Shield. At least we’ve got one good team to root for, right?
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)
Years from now, will people ask, “Were you there for the Darren Mattocks game?” Is that how we’ll look back on Saturday’s game? As the day Mattocks figured it out?
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.