September 7, 2016
Spirit plays anthem early, then clinches home field
WASHINGTON SPIRIT 2, SEATTLE REIGN 1
BOYDS, Md. -- The first-place Washington Spirit clinched the home field for its playoff opener with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign at the Maryland SoccerPlex Wednesday night, also attracting attention by playing the national anthem early because of Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe’s intention to kneel during the ceremony.
The Spirit (12-3-3, 39 points), which will host a playoff match for the first time, took control late in the opening half of a game twice delayed by lightning. Christine Nairn missed a 43rd-minute penalty kick. Then, in the fifth minute of first half added time, Crystal Dunn landed a shot from the edge of the penalty area off the underside of the bar at the far post past Haley Kopmeyer, starting in place of Hope Solo.
Dunn, a sixth-minute substitute for Cali Farquharson (injured), set up the second goal as her shot was bobbled by Kopmeyer, Cheyna Williams finishing in the 61st minute for a 2-0 Spirit advantage. Kim Little cut the Seattle (6-6-6, 24 points) deficit with a 70th minute penalty kick.
BOSTON BREAKERS 2, WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH 2
ALLSTON, Mass. -- The Boston Breakers clinched last place in the standings after a 2-2 tie with the Western New York Flash before a 1,425 crowd at Jordan Field Wednesday night.
Kyah Simon (fourth minute) and Natasha Dowie (51st) scored, and Libby Stout made key saves in the final seconds for the Breakers (3-13-2).
The Flash (8-5-5, 29 points) rallied on goals by Jess McDonald (38th) and Lynn Williams (76th).
Stout tipped a Makenzy Doniak shot from distance over the bar in the final seconds.
SKY BLUE FC 1, ORLANDO PRIDE 1
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Sky Blue FC’s post-season hopes ended with a 1-1 draw with the Orlando Pride at Yurcak Field Wednesday night.
Alex Morgan's 23rd-minute goal, her fourth of the season (in 12 games), gave the Pride (6-11-1, 19 points) the lead. Samantha Kerr tied the score in the 81st minute for Sky Blue (6-7-5, 23 points).
FC KANSAS CITY 3, CHICAGO RED STARS 2
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Shea Groom scored twice to lead FC Kansas City to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park Wednesday night.
Groom scored in the seventh and 76th minutes, and Frances Silva added a 62nd-minute goal as FC Kansas City (6-8-4, 22 points) took a 3-1 lead. Christen Press sent in a shot to the far post from just inside the penalty area in the 13th minute to tie the score for Chicago (8-5-5, 29 points). Sofia Huerta added an 87th-minute goal for the Red Stars.
PORTLAND THORNS 3, HOUSTON DASH 0
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Allie Long scored twice off Tobin Heath assists as the Portland Thorns blanked the Houston Dash, 3-0, clinching a playoff spot before a 13,752 crowd at Providence Park Wednesday night.
The Thorns (10-3-5, 35 points) also moved close to clinching second place in the standings. The eighth-place Dash (5-9-4, 19 points) has been eliminated from playoff contention.
Long looped a header off a Heath free kick over Lydia Williams in the 26th minute, then sent in a left-footer in the 73rd minute. Christine Sinclair finished into an open net after Williams mishandled a free kick in the 90th minute.