The Washington Spirit will face the Western New York Flash in the NWSL Championship after the Flash upset the Portland Thorns this evening. Two first half goals gave the Flash the lead but in less than a minute after the second goal, Christine Sinclair scored for the Thorns. Western New York head coach Paul Riley was ejected from the game arguing for a foul on Sinclair in the build-up to the goal. With 12 minutes left, Portland tied it up via Emily Sonnett's close-range finish, sending the game to extra time.
In extra time, Lynn Williams scuffed a shot through traffic following a long throw-in from Jess McDonald to give WNY a 98th minute lead. Williams extended Western New York's lead in the 103rd minute when the Flash sprang forward on a counter attack and the second-year forrward scored her 13th goal of the season. Not even two minutes later, Portland pulled a goal back when Lindsey Horan converted a header in the box to reduce the Flash's lead.
Riley, formerly the Thorns head coach, was ejected for misconduct against the fourth official. Riley will suspended for the NWSL Final.
Per #NWSL -- Paul Riley has an automatic one-game suspension to serve whether it be in the final or 2017 opener— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) October 2, 2016
The Spirit defeated the Flash 3-0 in their first meeting of the season but Western New York tied the Spirit at the Maryland Soccerplex in September. In both games, the Spirit struggled defensively to contain the Flash's talent out wide. Williams, the NWSL golden boot winner, was particularly dangerous in both matches but struggled to place her shots on target.
The Spirit will face the Flash in Houston on October 9th for the Spirit's first-ever appearance in the NWSL Final. In 2013, the Flash won the NWSL Shield but fell in the final to Portland. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. Eastern.