NWSL Week 17 Mid Week Recap

Portland moved up in the rankings following their 3-1 defeat of Sky Blue as the Thorns now hold sole possession of second place, trailing FC Kansas City by a point while the Flash round out the top four with 30 points following their 3-0 shut out over Washington.

Western New York Flash vs Washington Spirit, Final Score 3-0

The Flash shut out Washington 3-0 at Sahlen's Stadium with goals from Adriana, Samantha Kerr and Carli Lloyd. The visitors were absolutely crushed, failing to put up a single shot until 85 minutes had gone and spending the entire opening half defending while the Flash sent in 19 shots, six of which were on frame.

From kickoff, the Flash commanded the pitch with fluid passes to push the ball forward. Washington had several turnovers, unable to respond swiftly to the Flash's advances towards goal. In the 35th minute, Adriana would put the Flash on the board.

Samantha Kerr earned an assist from Adriana's goal after the Australian international tried to knock a close range shot past Ashlyn Harris, but the Spirit keeper managed to parry. Kerr jumped on the rebound and crossed the ball over to Adriana on the far post, who chipped it in. The pair attempted to recreate the same set piece several minutes later but Adriana's strike hit the side netting.

The home team continued their aggressive style of soccer into the second half, generating less opportunities on goal in comparison to the first but still wreaking havoc. Washington, to their credit, smartened up after the break, sitting behind the Flash offense and making sure they were one step ahead of the dangerous Abby Wambach.

But their efforts were in vain. The Flash got back on the board in the 59th minute with a goal from Samantha Kerr, who collected a pass from Katherine Reynolds near the far post and converted with an easy finish.

Ten minutes later, Carli Lloyd added her sixth goal of the season when she pounced on a deflected strike from Ingrid Wells, slotting home the loose ball to complete the scoring at 3-0.

Portland Thorns FC vs Sky Blue FC, Final Score 3-1

Despite conceding an early own goal, the Portland Thorns fought back at home to secure sole possession of second place with a 3-1 win over Sky Blue FC.

In front of a crowd of 13,769 fans, the spotlight was on Portland to grab a win, and that is exactly what they did against Sky Blue. The Thorns did not wait long to make their presence known to the Sky Blue defense. Within minutes, Tobin Heath and company were creating opportunities inside the box on the back of Mana Shim and Alex Morgan but could not find the opener.

Instead, the first goal came at the other end, thanks to Thorns defender Nikki Marshall. In the 17th minute, Sky Blue won a free kick outside the box when Morgan took down Danesha Adams. Katy Freels took the free kick but her strike was deflected off the head of Marshall and looped in, giving Sky Blue an early 1-0 lead.

Portland fought hard to earn an equalizer and nearly clinched it in the 33rd minute, Morgan just failing to defeat Jill Loyden one-on-one. Despite this minor setback, Morgan found the net in the 38th minute with a low strike into an empty goal after forcing Loyden off her line.

The game was level at 1-1 going into half time, but the Thorns were the happier side. The visitors received a major setback just before the interval, with Adams carried off the pitch with an ankle injury. Unsurprisingly, Sky Blue never recovered.

The home side continued to knock at the door, putting up 13 shots in the second half, seven on frame. The Thorns looked the likely side to score the winner and they did so in the 65th minute. Mana Shim scored her fifth goal of the season after picking up a rebound, pulling the ball away from Loyden and slotting in an easy finish to give the Thorns a 2-1 lead.

Less than eight minutes later, Allie Long added another the nail to the coffin, providing Portland with their third goal of the night. The Portland midfielder curled her long-range strike around Loyden to secure three points at home and claim sole possession of second place.

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