Western New York Flash Win the 2016 NWSL Championship in Overtime With Penalty Kicks
The Washington Spirit faced the Western New York Flash on October 9, 2016 in front 8,255 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas for the 2016 season 4 championship for the NWSL.
Crystal Dunn started the scoring in the 9th minute. Megan Oyster made a beautiful pass of about 40 yards to Crystal Dunn, who beat defender Alanna Kennedy and goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo as Dunn was at the edge of the penalty box and made a quick strike for a score.
Samantha Mewis scored in the 14th minute, equalizing for the Flash with a shot from about 22 yards out.
With these two high-powered NWSL offenses, it looked like it would be a fast paced, high scoring affair. But instead, both teams *inexplicably played conservatively for another 75 minutes, and the game ended 1-1 at the end of regulation.
Then the real game began…
In the 92nd minute, Francisca Ordega passed to Crystal who scored her second goal of the game, and the Spirit now led 2-1 over the Flash.
In the 93rd, Samantha Mewis denied a goal by Kelsey Wys as she made a nice save.
At the 96th minute, Christine Nairn took a free kick, and the ball bounced to Ali Krieger, but Sabrina D’Angelo made a save.
At the end of first overtime period, Washington still lead 2 to 1.
At the 107th minute, Taylor Smith missed a shot wide right.
Then for the next 15 minutes, each goalkeeper made some easy saves. Spirit goalkeeper Wys stopped Lynn Williams and Jaelene Hinkle. Whereas Flash goalkeeper D’Angelo stopped Crystal Dunn and Diana Matheson from scoring.
The referee added an *inexplicable amount of stoppage of four minutes. And with less than 1 minute left at the 124th minute, Lynn Williams scored a nice header from a beautiful cross by Jessica McDonald.
The game ends 2 to 2, we now go to penalty kicks…
- Penalty Kick (PK) #1- WNY Flash- taken by Abby Dahlkemper. GOAL- she kicked the ball to her right, and the goalkeeper made the correct guess, but was unable to save the goal. (PK score is 1-0.)
- PK#1 for Washington- taken by Ali Krieger. NO GOAL- she kicked toward the left center, and the goalkeeper made the save.(PK score is still 1-0.)
- PK#2 for WNY Flash – taken by Jaelene Hinkle- GOAL- she kicked the ball to the left and the goalkeeper again correctly guessed, but still could not save the goal. (Score 2-0 for WNY Flash )
- PK#2 for Washington – taken by Christine Nairn- GOAL- she kicked the ball to the left, and the goalkeeper guessed wrong. (Score now 2-1.)
- PK#3 for WNY Flash- taken by Jessica McDonald- NO GOAL- she missed completely going over the crossbar. (Score still 2-1.)
- PK#3 for Washington. Taken by Katie Stengel. GOAL- she kicked to the left as the goalkeeper correctly guessed, but did not make the save. (Scored now tied at 2-2.)
- PK#4 for WNY Flash- taken by Lynn Williams. GOAL- she kicked to the right as the goalkeeper guessed wrong. (Score 3-2 in favor for the WNY Flash.)
- PK#4 for Washington-taken by Tori Huster- NO GOAL- as she kicked to the lrft and the goalkeeper guessed correctly making the save. (Score still 3-2.)
- PK#5- taken by Sam Mewis. If she scores here, then WNY Flash will be crowned champions. If she misses, then we continue with the Penalty Kicks. NO GOAL- She kicked to her left and the goalkeeper makes the save. (Score still 3-2.)
- PK#5- taken by Diana Matheson- all the pressure is on her. If she misses, then WNY Flash win. If she makes it, then a sixth penalty kick will be necessary. NO GOAL- she kicked to the right center, and the goalkeeper guessed correctly.
WNY Flash win the penalty kicks 3-2. Goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo is named the game’s Most Valuable Player for the 3 saves during the penalty kick shootout, plus other saves during the game.
Here is a link to the highlights. I will see if the entire game is available when I make a season review for the WNY Flash.
*However, conspiracy theorists could speculate that the game was rigged to go to overtime in order to draw more viewers to the NWSL, but there is no evidence to support such a claim. Just as there was no proof in the idea that in the 2013 season, that the league rigged the championship for the Portland Thorns to ensure that the league’s most popular franchise winning a championship would build interest in the fledgling league (remember all of those “phantom” penalty kicks that year?).