The first National Women’s Soccer League champion will be crowned on Saturday, as the Western New York Flash host the Portland Thorns in Rochester, N.Y.
A dreamlike fantasy made in marketing heaven, this game features several marquee match-ups; US Women’s National team stars Western New York’s Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach, against Portland Thorns Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath.
The two teams split their two meetings during the season, with a 1-1 draw on July 14 and a 0-0 draw on August 10. Fans can look forward to a hard-fought, well-played match. The Flash come into the final on an 8-game winning streak, and the Thorns boast the best road record (6-2-3) in the NWSL with a 5-game road winning streak. Both teams also have a depth of talent in their starting line-ups and benches. The Thorns’ Rachel Buelher, a staple for the USWNT, has come into her own in Portland while veteran Cristine Sinclair continues to be a strong team leader. Scoring powerhouse Wambach and Best XI selection Brittany Taylor (a defender with three goals this season) have also been critical to the Flash’s success.
The Flash have the unique distinction of winning three titles, three years in a row (2010, 2011, 2012) in three different leagues (USL W-League, Women’s Professional Soccer, Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite).
WNYF earned its place in the championship game after defeating Sky Blue FC 2-0 in Rochester. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the Flash. The Thorns defeated a talented FC Kansas City to secure their place in the championship game with a 3-2-overtime victory.
Headliners Morgan and Heath have struggled with injuries over the past few weeks, and Morgan has said that she expects to play on Saturday.
The match is set to broadcast live nationally on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer.