HOUSTON (AP) Sabrina D’Angelo made three saves in the penalty shootout and the Western New York Flash won the National Women’s Soccer League championship 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with the Washington Spirit on Sunday.
Crystal Dunn gave the Spirit the lead in the 92nd minute, but Golden Boot winner Lynn Williams scored for the Flash in extra time of the overtime period to send the match to penalties.
Dunn first scored in the 10th minute, before Samantha Mewis evened it with a goal for the Flash in the 14th. Both players are also part of the U.S national team and are on the roster for a pair of friendlies later this month against Switzerland.
D’Angelo, who was on the Canadian national team that won the bronze medal at this summer’s Olympic Games, pumped her fists and screamed after stopping Diana Matheson’s attempt for the win at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.
Ellis names 20-player USWNT roster for Olympic qualifying
In? Seventeen-year-old Mallory Pugh, Portland defender Emily Sonnett, Boston Breakers striker Stephanie McCaffrey and Western New York Flash duo Jaelene Hinkle (right) and Samantha Mewis (left) as young stars on the squad.
Qualifying runs from Feb. 10-21 in Texas.
U.S. Women’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3):Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
The National Women’s Soccer League side was hamstrung by Wambach’s desire to stay in the Pacific Northwest ahead of this summer’s World Cup, and her decision not to play club soccer at all this summer.
But now they’ve made a mega deal based around Wambach’s rights going to Seattle in return for USWNT star forward Sydney Leroux Dwyer (That’s what she calls herself on Twitter since marrying Sporting KC man Dom Dwyer).
Seattle also gets midfielder Amber Brooks and a first round pick in 2016, while the Flash land defender Amanda Frisbie.
WNY lands a budding superstar that will put butts in the seats at Sahlen Stadium in Rochester. From their web site:
“As everyone knows, Sydney Leroux is a top goalscorer who has had both a fantastic club and international career so far,” said Flash general manager and head coach Aaran Lines. “I’m excited about the opportunity that she presents for us and the offensive threat that she adds to our attack.”
Wambach could change her mind on a season away from the league, as her rights are now much closer to wife Sarah Huffman, who lives in Portland since retiring from the Thorns last season.
“Abby is a fantastic player who has proven over the years she is one of the best forwards in the world,” Harvey said. “We understand and support her decision to focus on the World Cup this season. The contribution she is capable of making is obvious, so we will welcome her to our club at whatever point she is ready to rejoin the league.”
It’s risk-reward for both clubs, but WNY’s glut of first-round picks this year set the table for the future and made Brooks and the ’16 first expendable, especially when they could land a draw like Leroux Dwyer.
Alex Morgan made her season debut for the Portland Thorns on Saturday night, but even her long-awaited return couldn’t help lift her team over the Western New York Flash. The visitors won 5-0 with the opening goal from McCall Zerboni, followed by a brace apiece from Carli Lloyd and Samatha Kerr.
The Thorns weren’t helped by goalkeeper Nadine Angerer’s red card in the 27th minute. The Flash promptly scored three more before the interval, with Lloyd scoring the fifth and final in the 51st minute. Portland attempted to find a consolation goal, and Flash ‘keeper Lydia Williams had to perform a few reaction saves to deny Morgan in the final minutes of the match.
Saturday night’s game was Morgan’s first appearance for Portland since injuring her ankle in training last October. Last season she had eight goals and five assists, helping her team to win the NWSL’s inaugural championship. With the Thorns currently sitting fifth, they’ll be hoping Morgan’s return boosts the side.
But first it’s off to Florida, where Mogan will join the USWNT for two exhibition games against France. There the U.S. Soccer medical and performance staff will conduct a thorough evaluation, ensuring Morgan is fit for the friendlies. Both Thorns coach Paul Riley and the USWNT will look to be cautious with the forward – not only to make sure she stays healthy for the domestic season, but to keep her at peak fitness for the upcoming 2015 Women’s World Cup.