By MIKE McCALL
Even in a weekend when she didn’t play, Alex Morgan managed to make the biggest splash in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Sidelined with a sprained MCL, Morgan was forced to watch Portland’s showdown with Western New York via an online stream, and to put it mildly, she was not impressed.
Her sentiment echoes a common complaint with the league’s online streams — a solid idea that could certainly use some fine-tuning for next season. And Morgan’s comments will ring louder thanks to a mostly quiet slate of games on Saturday.
With the playoff spots already set, the only thing at stake is home-field advantage, and thanks to this week’s results, that won’t be settled until the final round of matches next weekend.
For a closer look, here’s a complete rundown along with what each team must do to play at home in the postseason:
LATE DRAMA IN CHICAGO
The Red Stars really have a nose for drama. This time, they gave up a go-ahead goal to Sky Blue FC in the 89th minute, only to equalize one minute later for a 3-3 draw.
Maribel Dominguez opened the scoring for Chicago, Monica Ocampo brought SBFC level, Sophie Schmidt put the visitors ahead, and Jackie Santacaterina pulled Chicago back into it in the 77th. That set up the late goals by Ocampo and Santacaterina, polishing off a shootout that will go down as a major opportunity lost for SBFC.
BREAKERS UPSET FCKC
Along with the comeback kings in Chicago, Boston is one of those teams that would have been fun to watch had they made the playoffs. This time out, the Breakers pulled out an impressive 1-0 win over league-leading FC Kansas City.
Sydney Leroux netted the game-winner, ending FCKC’s 10-game unbeaten streak and marking only the third time all season that they were held scoreless. All that comes as little consolation for Boston, who could finish the year just two points out of the postseason.
SPIRIT WIN AGAIN
Whatever got into Washington lately, it’s working. After spending most of the season in an epic tailspin, the Spirit notched their second straight victory with a 1-0 home win over Seattle.
Diana Matheson found the net in the 83rd minute to give Washington the win, meaning the club has nearly doubled its season point total in the past two weeks.
FLASH, THORNS FINISH SCORELESS
Morgan’s absence helped lead to a lopsided shot total (the Flash led 14-7), but there would be no goals in the meeting of two teams gunning for home-field advantage.
That leaves the drama until next week, when both teams have plenty to play for.
NWSL HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE SCENARIOS
All four playoff teams go up against non-playoff teams next week, needing the following to earn a home game in the postseason:
FC Kansas City (38 pts) has already clinched at least one home playoff game, and the club will take home first place with a win, draw or a Western New York draw or loss.
The Western NY Flash (35 pts) can snatch first place via a tiebreaker with a win and FCKC loss. They also hold the tiebreakers over the Portland Thorns (35 pts) and Sky Blue FC (35 pts), both of which need to earn more points than the Flash next week. In the event of a tie with Portland, SBFC needs to make up a deficit of one in goal differential.
What do you think? Agree with Morgan’s thoughts on the live stream? Disappointed that none of the playoff teams took charge this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.