PORTLAND, Ore. – Hosting their first-ever NWSL semifinal, Portland Thorns FC fell 4-3 in extra time to the Western New York Flash in the Thorns FC 2016 Playoffs presented by Tillamook Ice Cream in front of a new NWSL playoff record of 20,086 fans Sunday afternoon at Providence Park.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, Thorns FC got on the board in the 39th minute when defender Katherine Reynolds played a long ball to forward Christine Sinclair at the edge of the penalty area. Letting the ball take a bounce, Sinclair struck a right-footed volley that was rifled into the lower left corner of the net past Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo.
Thorns FC equalized in the 78th minute from a free kick. Midfielder Tobin Heath delivered a ball from 30 yards out into the penalty area, where D’Angelo punched the ball into a crowd of players. The ball fell to Sinclair, whose right-footed shot was cleared off the line by a Flash defender and the ensuing rebound was tucked into the back of the net by defender Emily Sonnett.
Portland nearly took the lead in the 80th minute when midfielder Amandine Henry slipped in second-half substitute Dagny Brynjarsdottir in behind the Western New York defense on the right edge of the penalty area. The Icelandic international took a touch and fired a low-angled shot that forced D’Angelo into a kick save.
Heading into extra time, the Flash took a 3-2 lead in the 98th minute when forward Lynn Williams pounced on a loose ball inside the box and slotted past Thorns goalkeeper Michelle Betos, who finished the match with six saves. Portland nearly scored two minutes later when Brynjarsdottir found space on the right wing and picked out midfielder Lindsey Horan at the top of the box. Horan took a touch and fired a shot that struck the top of the crossbar in the 101st minute.
Western New York scored the game-winning goal in the 104th minute when Williams got on the end of midfielder Samantha Mewis’ through ball and finished her shot into the back of the net from a counter-attacking play.
Just before the end of the first extra time period, Portland cut Western New York's lead to one. Defender Meghan Klingenberg delivered a cross from the left wing that Brynjarsdottir headed into the direction of Horan, whose left-footed shot beat D’Angelo in the 106th minute. Portland nearly scored an equalizer in the 120th minute when a header from Horan caught D’Angelo out of position, but Flash defender Abby Dahlkemper cleared the ball off the line.
Totaling 12 shots on goal, Thorns FC created a number of scoring opportunities throughout the match. In the 22nd minute, Sinclair played a through ball on the left edge of the penalty area to forward Nadia Nadim, whose low-driven shot was parried away by D’Angelo. In the 31st minute, midfielder Allie Long’s shot from outside the 18-yard box was caught by D’Angelo. In the 89th minute, a low-driven shot from Heath forced D’Angelo into a diving save at her near post.
Western New York opened the scoring in the 16th minute when midfielder Sam Mewis hit a left-footed volley from inside the penalty area that made its way into the back of the net. The Flash doubled their lead in the 38th minute when midfielder Makenzy Doniak got on the end of forward Jessica McDonald’s cross and headed the ball past Betos at her near post.
2016 NWSL Semifinals
Portland Thorns FC (1) vs. Western New York Flash (4)
Oct. 2, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 ET1 ET2 F
Western New York 2 0 2 0 4
Portland Thorns FC 1 1 1 0 3
WNY: Mewis, 16
WNY: Doniak (McDonald), 38
POR: Sinclair (Reynolds), 39
POR: Sonnett, 78
WNY: Williams, 98
WNY: Williams (Mewis), 104
POR: Horan (Brynjarsdottir), 105+1
WNY: Kennedy (Caution), 28
POR: Brynjarsdottir (Caution), 75
WNY: Dahlkemper (Caution), 76
WNY: Eddy (Caution), 109
POR: Heath (Caution), 114
WNY: D’Angelo (Caution), 120+1
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Betos, D Klingenberg, D Menges, D Sonnett, D Reynolds (Raso, 104), M Henry, M Long, M Heath, M Horan, M Nadim (Brynjarsdottir, 70), F Sinclair ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Franch, D Williamson, M Shim, M Johnson, F Weber
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Sinclair, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Sinclair, 3); FOULS: 10 (Four players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 6
WNY: GK D’Angelo, D Hinkle, D Kennedy, D Dahlkemper, D Eddy, M Erceg ©, M Zerboni (Hamilton, 95), M Mewis, M Doniak (Smith, 68), F Williams, F McDonald (Hahn, 115)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Rowland, D Niemiec, M Speck, M Cayman
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Williams, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Williams, 5); FOULS: 16 (Mewis, Hamilton, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 9
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, Benjamin Wooten
4th Official: Farhad Dadkho
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 58 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.