[NWSL PREVIEW: Semifinals] The Western New York Flash, which came from nine points back with six weeks to play to win the the NWSL regular-season title on goal difference over FC Kansas City and the Portland Thorns FC, hosts Sky Blue FC in Saturday's semifinals. FC Kansas City and Portland meet in the other game.
KANSAS CITY-PORTLAND. Two straight losses to conclude the regular season cost FC Kansas City the regular-season title. Before the season began, Portland was favored to win the league title but
it went 3-4-4 over the last half of the season after opening 8-2-1.
FCKC midfielder Lauren Holiday, who the Golden Boot as the NWSL top scorer with
12 goals, is the favorite for the league's MVP award, while Erika Tymrak was named Rookie of the Year, Nicole Barnhart
Goalkeeper of the Year and Becky Sauerbrunn Defender of the Year.
U.S. women's national team star Alex
Morgan, who hasn’t played since Aug. 7 with a knee sprain, traveled with Portland but remains listed as day-to-day.
stepped up in the absence of Morgan to score her seventh and eighth goals of the season to pace the Thorns to a 2-1 win over Seattle in the season finale.
Series: FC Kansas City leads 2-1-1.
WESTERN NEW YORK-BOSTON. The Flash didn't lead the standings until the second to last day of the
regular season with a 2-1 victory over Boston and held on when FC Kansas City lost to Chicago, 2-1, in stoppage time the next day.
Abby Wambach’s game-winning goal was her 11th goal of the season – tied with Breakers forward Sydney Leroux for the second most in the
league behind Holiday. She also finished second in assists with eight -- also behind Holiday.
Sky Blue FC comes into Saturday's semifinal with just one win (over the last-place
Washington Spirit) in its final seven games. Injuries took their toll on the New Jersey club that had previously led the league for 100 days.
SBFC will be without midfielder Kelley O’Hara and defender Caitlin Foord, who are both sidelined with injuries. The attack will be led by forward Monica Ocampo, who scored eight goals and midfielders Sophie Schmidt (seven goals) and Katie
Freels (six assists).
Defender CoCo Goodson was one of just three outfield players along with Western New York defender Estelle Johnson and FC Kansas City midfielder Jen Buczkowski to play every minute of the 2013 season.
Series: Western New York leads 3-1-0.