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NWSL Playoff Preview: The Final

It’s all come down to one match. The National Women’s Soccer League Championship match will be contested on Saturday at 8pm ET in Rochester, NY between Portland Thorns and Western New York Flash, two teams that don’t have a whole lot of separation between them. And it is the Championship match-up that many invested parties hoped for: having the so-called “face franchise of the NWSL” face off against one of the most successful franchises in American Women’s Professional Soccer history (or it could be billed as the match that pits the heralded USWNT veteran vs the rising USWNT star…aka Abby vs. Alex). Regardless what you call it, it’s going to be a great contest. Here’s a breakdown of the Final as well as the second of three OGM All-NWSL Best XIs. Read more

Damallsvenskan Update and Interview with Ali Krieger

Ali Krieger in her new jersey
Ali Krieger in her new jersey

After a European Championship in Sweden this summer that saw Germany enhance its winning streak to six consecutive gold medals in Europe, the Swedish league Damallsvenskan is back. The two leading teams, defending champions Tyresö FF and LdB FC Malmö met just thirteen days after the final between Germany and Norway.

Despite a 2-1 lead for Tyresö and despite Malmö shortened to 10 players after defender Amanda Ilestedt had been sent off, Malmö managed to turn the game and score the decisive goal. Swiss international Ramona Bachmann decided the match after a perfect cross from Germany’s Anja Mittag. Malmö followed up their important away victory with a convincing 5-0 away win against cup winners Göteborg, while Tyresö left another two points after a draw, 1-1 at Örebro last Thursday. In that game, Nigerian international Sarah Michael scored one of this year’s most impressive goals, a tremendous shot from 20 yards out that gave Tyresö’s new goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris not the slightest chance. Read more

NWSL Playoff Preview: The Semifinals

88 regular season matches are in the books and now the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League season is down to four teams. In the next two weeks, three closely contested matches will be played to determine the first-ever NWSL Champion. Two points (and some goal differential) separated Western New York, FC Kansas City, Portland and Sky Blue in the regular season standings and after a crazy turn of events in the final hours of the season, the playoff hosting scenarios took a complete 180 degree turn. And honestly, it didn’t surprise me at all, because each of these four teams have been very close in comparison and it was going to go down to the wire to separate them. So let’s takes a look at some key factors for each team in their semifinal match ups on Saturday. Then it’s time to reveal this column’s first of three All-NWSL XI’s. Read more

All About Positioning or Pride

At 11:45pm on this last Wednesday night, the race for the four playoff spots in the National Women’s Soccer League was over. That Wednesday night however, didn’t end on the terms that a few teams wanted it to end. But from one of the more packed weeks of NWSL play this season, teams never gave in no matter the situation. Every team played as hard as they were playing from week one, proving that while the player talent pool is growing there are no easy matches on any teams schedule. But the culminating week in the NWSL regular season won’t go to waste. While FC Kansas City, Western New York Flash, Portland Thorns FC and Sky Blue FC all have clinched playoff spots, no seeds have been determined. So this coming weekend will be quite interesting. Also after the usual recap for this week, I will be making a few changes on this column for the playoffs so keep reading to the end. Until then, lets take a look back at Week 18 of the NWSL Regular Season. Read more

One In, Three to Go

In the 16 weeks of the National Women’s Soccer League regular season it has been a battle to claim a playoff position. But in Week 17, the first team has reached the promise land of knockout round playoff soccer. FC Kansas City clinched a playoff berth late Sunday night, leaving only three places available for five playoff eligible teams. Some teams are in better positions than others as only two weeks remain in the regular season. Let’s take a look back at Week 17 of regular season play as well as updated playoff scenarios and some remarks from an NWSL team owner about the 2014 season. Read more