Portland Thorns 3-4 Western New York Flash
Full-time: The Flash are through to the NWSL Championship!
120+2' CHANCE! D'Angelo comes out and fails to clear her lines again. Horan gets her head on the ball and Dahlkemper clears the ball off the line to stop the goal.
120+1' YELLOW CARD: D'Angelo gets one for time wasting.
There will be three minutes of added time here.
115' SUBSTITUTION: Michaela Hahn comes in for McDonald
115' YELLOW CARD: Heath comes in late on Smith and gets a booking.
110' YELLOW CARD: Eddy picks one up after fouling Heath.
Portland Thorns 3-4 Western New York Flash
The first period of extra time is over. 15 more minutes to play.
Meghan Klingenberg puts in a great cross which Brynjarsdottir gets a touch on. It falls to Horan and she makes no mistake this time.
105+1' GOAL! Portland pull one back.
105' SUBSTITUTION: Hayley Raso comes on for Reynolds.
Portland Thorns 2-4 Western New Flash
Mewis breaks forward quickly and she slots a perfectly weighted ball to Williams who places it into the far corner.
104' GOAL! The Flash are ahead by two now.
101' CHANCE! Sinclair flicks the ball to an on-rushing Brynjarsdottir who then finds Horan in the box. Horan takes a touch and shoots but her shot cannons off the bar and away from goal.
Portland Thorns 2-3 Western New York Flash
McDonald's long throw is again the source of the goal as she finds Erceg in the box. The ball falls to Williams and she volleys it in.
98' GOAL! The Flash take the lead again!
95' SUBSTITUTION: Kristen Hamilton comes in for Zerboni.
93' Heath is down again after a challenge from Ecreg.
91' Extra time has begun!
Portland Thorns 2-2 Western New York Flash
And there we have it. Extra time it is after a pulsating 90 minutes.
90+3' Brynjarsdottir tries to chip the ball into the goal but it goes wide and the ball eventually goes out for a goal-kick.
90' This time D'Angelo comes out and gathers the ball cleanly.
89' The Thorns have a corner late in the game. Can they win it here?
80' CHANCE! Brynjarsdottir is in and D'Angelo has to make a kick-save to stop her from scoring.
Portland Thorns 2-2 Western New York Flash
The free-kick comes in from Heath and D'Angelo comes out but can't hang on to the ball. Zerboni stops Sinclair's shot with her foot but Emily Sonnett is on hand to tuck away the rebound.
78' GOAL! The Thorns are level!
76' YELLOW CARD: Dahlkemper draws the ire of the fans when she fouls Horan and she picks up a yellow card. Brynjarsdottir gets a yellow card as well.
75' Zerboni starts a Flash break and Williams has a go from outside the box but Betos catches it easily.
70' SUBSTITUTION: Dagny Brynjarsdottir comes in for Nadim.
69' CHANCE! The Flash work the ball nicely between Zerboni and Smith and Betos has to stretch to stop the chipped effort from Zerboni from sneaking in.
68' SUBSTITUTION: Taylor Smith comes on for Doniak.
68' Heath tries to find Sonnett at the near post but a foul is called and the Flash get the ball back.
66' A pair of consecutive corner from Heath lead to nothing for the Thorns.
62' Heath looks to have been fouled by Dahlkemper in the box but the referee says it was a 50/50 challenge. Referee Marco Vega is not a popular man in Portland right now.
57' The Thorns get forward for the first time in this half and almost find the back of the net as D'Angelo flaps at the cross. Eddy gets a head on it and the Flash eventually clear the ball.
54' CHANCE! Doniak really should've scored. Hinkle gets forward and puts in a great delivery that finds Doniak at the far post. Her header goes right into the belly of Betos and she hangs onto the ball.
52' Elizabeth Eddy fouls Heath and Heath takes the free-kick. Her delivery is poor and D'Angelo picks the ball up easily.
51' CHANCE! The Flash counter quickly with Doniak and she gets to the byline before cutting the ball back to Williams. The pass is slightly behind her and she can only direct it goal-wards to a waiting Betos.
49' Amandine Henry fouls Erceg in a good position for the Flash. Dahlkemper goes for a goal but misses the net completely.
46' And we're underway in the second half.
Portland Thorns 1-2 Western New York Flash
With only one (?) minute of extra time, we have reached the half. It's been a fantastic, frantic game so far and the second half should be just as entertaining.
40' Things are getting interesting now as the Flash's head coach Paul Riley has been sent to the stands by the referee. According to the commentators he ran into the fourth official and it warranted him being sent to the stands.
Katherine Reynolds plays a long ball to Sinclair who turns Kennedy and fires into the far corner of the net on the half-volley. The Flash are incensed as they feel that Sinclair fouled Kennedy but the goal stands.
39' GOAL! The Thorns are back in this!
The long throw is the cause of all the problems for the Thorns again. Erceg is tripped by Horan trying to get to the delivery and Erceg then trips Horan but the foul isn't called. The ball finds Doniak at the far post and she nods the Flash's second on the day.
38' GOAL! The Flash are now 2-0 up!
36' CHANCE! The free-kick hits the wall and the Flash break quickly. Doniak beats her defender and finds Williams unmarked in the box. Williams hits the crossbar and the ball bounces away. What a chance for Williams again.
35' Heath drives forward and is fouled by Abby Erceg near the top of the box. It looked a little soft but the referee disagrees and the Thorns have a great opportunity now.
34' The ball bounces around in the Flash box but Nadim is called for offside and the momentum stop for the Thorns.
32' CHANCE! Mewis slips Williams in and Betos makes a fantastic save to prevent the Flash from going 2-0 up. Big chance for Williams there.
31' After some good buildup, Long tries from long range but it's right at D'Angelo.
28' Yellow Card: Alanna Kennedy fouls Sinclair and picks up the first booking of the match.
24' Makenzy Doniak launches the ball into the box and Jessica McDonald wins a corner for the Flash. The corner is well defended by the Thorns.
22' CHANCE! Sinclair plays Nadim in but her angle is a narrow one and D'Angelo makes a good save. Heath gets a chance to shoot as well but D'Angelo has recovered quickly to catch that effort easily.
21' That goal came against the run of play but the Thorns had been warned with each long throw that the Flash managed to get into their box.
Portland Thorns 0-1 Western New York Flash
The long throw causes problems again for the Thorns and Zerboni mis hits the ball but it lands at Mewis' feet, who makes no mistake and one-times it into the goal.
16' GOAL! The Flash take the lead!
14' Allie Long finds Tobin Heath out wide and she puts in a great cross that Jaelene Hinkle taps the ball out for a corner.
13' Another long throw by the Flash causes panic in the box but Michelle Betos is alive to the danger and catches the ball before a Flash player can get to it.
12' Horan is called for offside after she and Sinclair had broken forward.
10' A long throw-in is headed on by Mewis and Williams gets a shot off that goes over the crossbar.
7' Lindsey Horan flicks the ball on but D'Angelo gets to the ball before Sinclair can latch onto it.
6' Dahlkemper sends the ball in and Mewis heads it back into the mix at the far post. McDonald gets a touch which takes it away from Lynn Williams and the ball rolls out for a goal kick.
5' The ball hits Abby Dahlkemper's hand in the box and the referee doesn't give the penalty call. The Flash go the other way and McCall Zerboni wins a free-kick in a good position for the Flash.
3' A series of Thorns corners are defended well by the Flash. The ball eventually comes back to Nadim who finds Sinclair but Sinclair's shot is right at Sabrina D'Angelo.
2' A turnover by the Flash leads to Christine Sinclair finding Nadia Nadim in the box. Samantha Mewis makes a great tackle that goes out for a Thorns corner.
1' And we have kick-off!
17:05 PM EST: Kick-off is only moments away in what should be an enthralling encounter in front of a very large (and loud) Thorns crowd.
16:50 PM EST: And for those of you who don't have access to FS2, the Thorns will being the game on Youtube. Check out their account @ThornsFC for more information.
16:40 PM EST: A late programming change. The match between Portland Thorns FC and Western New York Flash will be shows on FS2 and not on FS1 as previously scheduled. Once the programming on FS1 is finished, the NWSL Playoff semi-final will switch back to FS1.
D'Angelo; Eddy, Dahlkemper, Kennedy, Hinkle; Doniak, Mewis, Erceg, Zerboni; McDonald, Williams.
The Western New York Flash have dropped their starting eleven as well.
Betos; Reynolds, Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg; Long, Henry; Nadim, Horan, Heath; Sinclair.
Here is the starting eleven for the Portland Thorns today.
16:05 PM EST: Hello there and welcome to our NWSL Live coverage today of the second NWSL Playoff semi-final. The Washington Spirit have already booked their place in the final with the win over the Chicago Red Stars on Friday night and today will determine which team will join the in Houston.
Keep checking back with us for more updates on this match in Houston.
Portland Thorns 4, Western New York Flash 2.
Prediction: Portland finished the regular season strongly, winning their last four matches and picking up the 2016 NWSL Shield so we can look forward to them attempting to keep that form going. However, their fans will be weary as no previous NWSL Shield winners have won the NWSL Championship in the same year. The Thorns will be looking to break that "curse" against the Flash and in the final against the Washington Spirit who booked their place in the final on Friday evening. Western New York will not go away easily and their ability to come from behind will definitely give Portland food for thought. After all, in the previous meeting, the Thorns were cruising until the last ten minutes of the match where the Flash got two quick goals and almost leveled the score line late in the game. The Flash have found a way to cause many teams problems because of their ability to find the back of the net, especially late in the game and they will look to try and use that recovering ability to book their place in the final in place of the Thorns.
The head coach for the Portland Thorns is Mark Parsons. His opponent on the day will be Paul Riley, former head coach of the Thorns and now head coach.
D'Angelo; Eddy, Kennedy, Hinkle; Doniak, Erceg, Mewis, Zerboni; McDonald, Williams.
Projected Lineup: Western New York Flash (4-4-2).
Betos; Reynolds, Menges, Sonnett, Klingenberg; Henry, Long; Nadim, Horan, Heath; Sinclair.
Projected Lineup: Portland Thorns FC (4-2-3-1).
Here is the projected lineup for both Portland Thorns FC and the Western New York Flash.
The officiating crew for this match is led by center official Marco Vega. Assisting Vega on one side of the field will be Amanda Ross, while Benjamin Wooteb will be on the opposite side of the field. The fourth official is listed as Farhad Dadkho.
The match will be played at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. Game time is scheduled for 5:00PM EST.
The last meeting between these two teams was on September 11th at Providence Park and it was a fantastic encounter that finished as a 3-2 win for the Thorns. With the amount of attacking prowess on show for both teams, fans and neutrals alike could see another high-scoring game to decide the second finalist for the 2016 NWSL Championship game.
The other notable player to look for within the Flash ranks is someone who's play has been conducted quietly but with great effect. After losing Lianne Sanderson to a season-ending injury and a tactical shake-up, New Zealand international Abby Erceg has been moved into midfield from the back line and has performed very well in a defensive midfield role for the Flash. Not only does Erceg get her positioning right nine times out of ten to break up plays but she also has an eye for a pass and is usually the starting point of the Flash's forward momentum. Her tactical awareness also makes her a greta midfield partner for US international Samantha Mewis who continues to develop into a fine midfielder in the league. Mewis' form has earned her call ups to the senior team and if she continues her performances with another great outing in Portland, she could potentially force her way into the starting line up for the national team.
The Flash will look to the duo of Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald who have been outstanding this season for the Flash. Williams finished as the top scorer in the league with 10 goals while McDonald was not far behind, ending her season with nine goals. In these two players, the Flash have the two of three most prolific forwards in the league this year and if anyone can make a difference in this match up, it will be these two players. Not only are they clinical in front of goal, but they have developed a good understanding with each other that allows them to find passes to link up at the top of the box and create goal scoring opportunities for each other. What will please the Flash fans the most is the work rate of both Williams and McDonald. The Flash like to press high and these two forwards have no problems pressuring opposition defenders and chasing down long balls if it will give their team an opportunity to attack.
Finishing fourth in the table has made the Western New York Flash the away side in this semi-final but the Rochester-based team will not have any problems with that. Not many had predicted their team finishing in the playoff position this season after an average 2015 season so this young side will want to make the most of the opportunity that has been handed to them and try to find a way to silence a vociferous home crowd.
At the back for the Thorns, the cornerstone of their defense has been Emily Menges. Menges has not received as much attention as her fellow defenders Emily Sonnett and Meghan Klingenberg, or goalkeeper Michelle Betos but she has been the reason why the Thorns have conceded the least amount of goals in the league during the regular season and her twenty starts have been testament to how consistent she has been all throughout the 2016 season for the Thorns. Her performances have been noted by the NWSL Media Association and she has been nominated as a finalist for the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year award. If the Thorns win another star to add alongside their 2013 championship win, Menges will be a huge reason why they do so.
This Thorns team is stacked with individual talent in almost every position on the field. The key to this team however is US international Tobin Heath. Heath has been in fine form for the Thorns when she has not been away on international duty and when she plays well, the entire team is elevated to a higher performance level. Heath has one goal so far and a league-leading ten assists for the season which has also put her in the running for the 2016 NWSL MVP award. Her creativity has always been on show for both the Thorns and the United States of America but this season, Heath has added a clinical precision to her creativity which has helped her pick up those ten assists for the Thorns. Heath will be one player that the Thorns faithful will want to watch closely as they expect her to lead the team to another NWSL Championship game.
The Portland Thorns come into this semi-final after being crowned the 2016 NWSL Shield winners last weekend with their win over Sky Blue FC. In front of their home fans, for the first time in the NWSL playoffs, the Thorns will want to put on a performance and reward their fans who have broken attendance records every season in the NWSL. When the Thorns are on their game, there are very teams that can match the talent that they have at their disposal and the team will be hoping to produce at least one more good performance this weekend to make the final.
Hello there, and welcome to VAVEL USA's LIVE coverage of the National Women's Soccer League! The playoff semi-final match today will decide who, between Portland Thorns FC and the Western New York Flash, will be heading to the 2016 NWSL Championship. My name is Kudzi Musarurwa and I will be your host in what should be an engaging encounter.