NWSL Championship recap

This is a quick update to my preview post from a few days back.

The game took place last night and before I get into it, I learned it was the first women’s sports championship game televised on prime time on a major network ever, for any sport.

Isn’t that insane that this milestone happened in 2022 and not say, 10 or 20 years ago given all the past WNBA and NCAA basketball championships and World Cups?

Anyway, the Thorns won handily, 2-0, and they played some of their best soccer of the entire year. They controlled the mid-field (normally a weakness for the team since they lost midfielder Lindsay Horan last season) and they controlled possession throughout.

I remained hopeful about KC’s chances (as was pretty much everyone in the broadcast booth) since it would have been an incredible story to go from last place to first, but they seemed to take the field without the confidence and lightness and fun they normally play with. It was a bummer, and soon after kickoff a small mistake meant Portland took the lead in the 5th minute. It didn’t take the wind out of KC’s sails, and they fought hard as the game remained fairly even and tense.

KC had a couple chances that were close and I felt strongly like it would likely be tied by halftime, but KC never completed their chances. When they took the field in the second half, KC seemed a little deflated, and a small mistake while clearing a shot on goal ended up scoring another for the Thorns as an own goal from a KC defender.

Once it was 2-0, the Thorns continued their stranglehold on the midfield, did a bunch of substitutions to eat up the clock and give players with fresh legs chances, and the Thorns used their bench to put even more shots on goal, but in the end, they controlled the game’s flow from beginning to end and hung on for a 2-0 win.

As a Thorns fan, I’m obviously quite happy as it has been five years since their last season championship, but deep down I was also rooting for KC and when they return next season with Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis, they will likely be unstoppable and I would bet any amount of money they’ll end up in the championship game next year too.

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