Where EAST meets the Northwest
Nadia Nadim. (AR Photo/Jan Landis)
Lindsey Horan. (AR Photo/Jan Landis)
Christine Sinclair. (AR Photo/Jan Landis)
NWSL PLAYOFFS. Nadia Nadim of the Portland Thorns dribbles the ball during
the team’s final regular-season National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match
against the Chicago Red Stars at Providence Park on September 30, 2017. The
Thorns, who finished league play in second place, are hosting a home playoff
game for the second year in a row. The semifinal match against the Orlando Pride
will be held at Providence Park on Saturday, October 7 at 12:30pm. (AR Photo/Jan
From The Asian Reporter, V27, #19 (October 2, 2017), page 8.
Teams set for the 2017 NWSL playoffs
The Portland Thorns are hosting a home playoff game for the second year in a
row in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The team’s semifinal match
against the Orlando Pride will be held at Providence Park on Saturday, October 7
at 12:30pm. In the other semifinal game, the North Carolina Courage take on the
Chicago Red Stars at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in North Carolina
on Saturday, October 8 at 12:30pm.
Both playoff games, as well as the championship match on Saturday, October 14
at Orlando City Stadium, are televised live on Lifetime.
In an interesting twist of regular-season scheduling, the four teams that had
secured playoff berths prior to the final weekend of league games played each
other, with results of the two matches impacting final placements in the playoff
First-place North Carolina (16-7-1, 49 points) — which features Abby Erceg,
Lynn Williams, Yuri Kawamura (currently on the disabled list), and others — fell
2-3 to the Orlando Pride (11-6-7, 40 points) — which includes Marta, Chioma
Ubogagu, Alex Morgan, and others — in front of 7,020 fans. Stalwart defender
Erceg has anchored the Courage backline this season, holding opposing teams to
only 22 goals, the second-fewest allowed in the league.
At Providence Park in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans, second-place
Thorns FC (14-5-5, 47 points) — featuring Nadia Nadim, Christine Sinclair, Tobin
Heath, and others — defeated the Chicago Red Stars (11-7-6, 39 points) — which
includes Yuki Nagasato, Sofia Huerta, Danielle Colaprico, and others — by a
score of 3-1.
Orlando’s win coupled with Chicago’s loss allowed the Pride to jump into
third place, pushing the Red Stars down to fourth place.
The Thorns ended the regular season just two points behind North Carolina,
who took home the NWSL Shield, which is awarded to the club with the best
Seattle Reign FC, whose roster includes Nahomi "Naho" Kawasumi, Rumi Utsugi,
Megan Rapinoe, and others, ended its season in fifth place with 34 points and an
overall record of 9-8-7, missing the playoffs. Naho topped the NWSL assist chart
this season with nine.
Sky Blue FC, a club with players such as Sam Kerr, Tasha Kai, Christie
Pearce, and others, will also be watching the playoffs from home despite
multiple-goal performances by Kerr and her squad in the latter part of the
The Australian playmaker scored her 17th goal of the year over the weekend,
which broke the all-time NWSL record for most goals in a single season. Kerr
already owns the all-time NWSL record for most career goals, with her
most-recent tally placing her at 43 goals overall.
Sky Blue finished just a point behind the Reign in sixth place with a 10-11-3
record and 33 points.
The Thorns squad broke several club and league records this year, including
two involving home attendance. In 12 matches held at Providence Park, 211,830
fans — an average of 17,653 per game — wildly cheered on their team. The 2017
numbers resulted in new NWSL records for both total and average attendance in
Portland this year also had the best home record — 10 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie
— in the league, which set a new single-season record for home wins at
Providence Park and stands as the best home record in the NWSL this year. In
addition, the team allowed the least number of goals against — 20 — and
goalkeeper Adrianna Franch posted a league-leading 11th shutout during the
Portland, North Carolina, Orlando, and Chicago are now the four clubs vying
for the 2017 NWSL championship. Past winners have included the Thorns in the
inaugural 2013 season, FC Kansas City in 2014 and 2015, and the Western New York
Flash (now the North Carolina Courage) in 2016.
Providence Park is located at the corner of S.W. 18th Avenue and Morrison
Street in Portland. To learn more, or to buy tickets for the October 7 semifinal
match, call (503) 553-5555 or visit <www.portlandthornsfc.com>.
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