WNY Flash Are Triumphant – Winning the 2016 NWSL Championship
The day has finally arrived and the 4th season of the NWSL is in the books — the NWSL trophy was earned today at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston by the tenacious Western New York Flash who defeated their top rival, the Washington Spirit 3-2.
The final score does not reflect the amazing competition on the field.
At the end of 90 minutes, the score was 1-1. Then, at the end of overtime, the score was 2-2. The game was only won after WNY Flash’s goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo made three spectacular saves in the first penalty shootout in league history.
It was a championship game filled with tense moments and back-and-forth action — fans, players and coaches alike were on the edge of their seats as the match went into PKs.
Led this year by renowned coach Paul Riley — who was in the stands with the fans after being tossed out from the semifinals after arguing with officials, the Flash were undaunted by being behind and dug deep, working together to even the score — which is exactly what happened. Assistant Scott Vallow served as the acting head coach tonight, showing the same intensity that Riley brings to every match.
This has been a season of comebacks for the WNY Flash — a team that has defined persistent and relentless determination.
Midfielder Samantha Mewis scored in the 14th minute and 2016 MVP Flash forward Lynn Williams scored in the 124th minute, moments before the sound of the final whistle was heard.
Washington Spirit’s forward and 2015 MVP Crystal Dunn was in great form, scoring two important goals for her team — the first goal of the match in the 9th minute and then the first goal in extra time as well – but it was not enough to secure the win.
Coming from behind is making an impact takes great leadership, and great coaching. As the NWSL said in their press statement:
The Flash become the first No. 4 seed to win the NWSL Championship after they sealed their place in 2016 postseason with a win in their final game of the regular season that snapped a seven-game winless streak. The credit for these accomplishments is shared by the players and those leading them. The WNY Flash head coach has been coaching soccer for twenty years is one of the most inspirational coaches in soccer today; Riley is one of those rare individuals who makes a difference on the sideline and always brings out the best in his players.
“None of us really expected this until a certain point in the season where Flash head coach Paul Riley just cultivated this mentality like, ‘We’re the underdog. It is us against the world. If you guys believe it, there’s no one that can stop you,'” said Mewis.
Recovering from a deficit to win the NWSL championship, the Flash claimed victory with the spirit of gladiators turned champs — and with great pride.
Clearly earning the recognition of Most Valuable Player, D’Angelo said after the match, “We fought through the whole game. Like they said, Washington did play better than us, but we kept fighting. The team did so well to equalize the game, it was my job to save the day.”
The match clearly reflects the intense competition in the NWSL – a league deserving of celebrating its success.
The Championship is the first NWSL Championship for the Flash, and their fourth overall, having won 3 championships in other leagues: 2010 (USL W-League), 2011 (WPS), and 2012 (WPSL Elite). The Flash organization has now won four titles in their eight years of existence.
The team will return to the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport at 4:30 p.m. ET tomorrow, October 10. Media and fans are invited to welcome the team off the plane.
Goals: FLASH – Samantha Mewis 14′; Lynn Williams 124+’. SPIRIT – Crystal Dunn 9′, 91′.
Photo Credit: Brad Smith/ISIPhotos.com
From the NWSL press release – we know our readers like to read the real source material and not just reporters’ opinions! Here is what we were sent following the match – make sure you scroll all the way down to catch the unedited quotes!
The NWSL Breakdown: The Washington Spirit opened the scoring for the 16th time in 22 games this season in the 9th minute when forward Crystal Dunn got on the end of a well-weighted long ball from defender Megan Oyster and rounded Western New York Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo before she slid her shot into the vacated net from a sharp-angle while falling to the ground.
The goal was the first time an NWSL MVP scored in the NWSL Championship Game as Dunn – the league’s MVP in 2015 – found the back of the net for just the third time this season (including playoffs) after scoring 15 times in a NWSL Golden Boot winning campaign last year.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Flash midfielder Samantha Mewis leveled the score in the 14th minute when she collected a pass from forward Lynn Williams before creating space to rip a low shot past Washington goalkeeper Kelsey Wys and just inside the far post from 23 yards.
It was the third consecutive game with a goal for Mewis stretching back to the final match of the regular season – with all three goals coming in the first half of those contests.
Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco was forced off through injury in the 22nd minute, but returned to the sidelines in the second half to support her teammates.
The teams traded chances over the final 76 minutes in regulation – with Washington midfielder creating the best opportunity in the 33rd minute as a change of pace took her into a gap in the Flash defense before she unleashed a low shot that forced a full-stretch save from D’Angelo.
But just as both semifinal matches did, the 2016 NWSL Championship Game went to extra time with the score knotted at 1-1 and the 8,255 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium didn’t have to wait long for the action to pick up as Dunn scored her second goal of the match in the 91st minute.
Less than a minute later, Mewis nearly replicated her equalizer from the first half with a shot that forced one of the four saves on the night from Wys.
But as they’d done all season, the Flash found a way back into the match – this time with Williams heading home the game-tying goal in the 124th minute to send the match to penalties as she became the first reigning MVP to score in a championship match in the league’s history. Ten of Williams’ 14 goals (including playoffs) came after halftime this year.
Moment of the match: Western New York goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo made her third save of the shootout to send the Flash to their first NWSL Championship. D’Angelo stopped shots from Ali Krieger, Victoria Huster and Diana Matheson in the first penalty shootout in the four-year history of the NWSL Championship Game in a performance that meant that she became the first goalkeeper to win the NSWSL Championship Game MVP award.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit (12-5-3, 39 pts) vs. Western New York Flash (9-6-5, 32 pts)
Date: Oct. 9, 2016
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Kickoff: 4:10 p.m. CT
Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy
WAS – Crystal Dunn (Megan Oyster) 9′
WNY – Samantha Mewis (Lynn Williams) 14′
WAS – Crystal Dunn (Ali Krieger) 91′
WNY – Lynn Williams (Jessica McDonald) 124+’
WNY – Abby Dahlkemper (goal)
WAS – Ali Krieger (save)
WNY – Jaelene Hinkle (goal)
WAS – Christine Nairn (goal)
WNY – Jess McDonald (miss)
WAS – Katie Stengel (goal)
WNY – Lynn Williams (goal)
WAS – Tori Huster (save)
WNY – Sam Mewis (save)
WAS – Diana Matheson (save)
Washington Spirit: Kelsey Wys, Ali Krieger, Megan Oyster, Shelina Zadorsky, Caprice Dydasco (Alyssa Kleiner 22′), Whitney Church, Christine Nairn, Victoria Huster, Estefania Banini (Diana Matheson 80′), Francisca Ordega (Katie Stengel 112′), Crystal Dunn
Substitutes Not Used: Stephanie Labbe, Estelle Johnson, Joanna Lohman, Cheyna Williams
Western New York Flash: Sabrina D’Angelo, Elizabeth Eddy, Abby Dahlkemper, Alanna Kennedy, Jaelene Hinkle, Makenzy Doniak (Taylor Smith 80′), Samantha Mewis, Abby Erceg, McCall Zerboni (Kristen Hamilton 106′), Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams
Substitutes Not Used: Britt Eckerstrom, Courtney Niemiec, Michaela Hahn, Janice Cayman, Meredith Speck
WNY – McCall Zerboni (Yellow) 84′
WAS – Kelsey Wys (Yellow) 122+’
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Nick Uranga
Fourth Official: Francisco Bermudez
Unedited Postgame Quotes:
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH Head Coach Paul Riley
(Overall thoughts on the game) “I think it wasn’t one of our greatest performances. We gutted it out, we played a lot in practice being down by one goal with five minutes to go, humping the ball forward, and putting people in the box, and just hoping something happens in the box. I think we just crossed that ball. It felt like three and a half minutes before Lynn got on the end. Great finish. And obviously then Sabrina took over in penalty kicks. Got us into penalty kicks. But we practiced penalty kicks too. It’s a whole different world when you’re kicking for a championship than it is kicking in practice. It was just a gutsy performance. I think that game probably summed up the season for us. We’ve come back in eight, nine games now. Even at 2-1, they had a couple of chances, but I don’t think for a second we thought we were out of it. We just keep plugging along. We just wanted one more chance. We were just waiting for something to happen and it happened. Thank heavens. Hats off to Washington. I thought they played really well. I thought they were the better team especially in the first half. The second half even a little bit and over time it was just a war in overtime. A lot of players on the floor. But congrats to Jimmy too for getting his. He’s a great coach. Terrific team. First time we’ve beaten them. And we actually didn’t beat them. We tied them and won in penalties. They’re a very good side. I thought it was a decent final. Would’ve been nicer to be better, but it’s sweet to get the trophy. Really, really proud of the group. Amazing what they put into it. People talk about teams with destiny. This was a team with destiny for sure.”
(On the factors that were able to keep them in the game that led to the equalizer) “Usually in the midfield we are a little bit cleaner on the ball. We just worked our socks off in there. Turned the ball over quite a bit in the game. But the effort was unbelievable. We switched formations at halftime to a 4-3-3, thinking we could spread them out up front with the back three. They made a huge change, obviously, tactically before the game, which threw us off a little bit. But we kept pressuring. They had a couple of decent chances with a good save midway through the second half that kind of kept us around. It just feels like it encompasses the entire season. It’s been a great process. A great journey and we just kept plugging along. Every time teams wrote us off we came back, and every time you wrote us off we came back. It’s just good. It’s just an amazing feeling for the troops. I think they’ve been very loose all week and very calm, which is unusual for a very young team. We didn’t play our best performance because I think they’re young. I think the legs got heavy real early in the game, and they weren’t able to play better. But I think having tasted it, hopefully they’ll want more. Hats off to them. They were awesome.”
Western New York GK Sabrina D’Angelo
(On the game) “It obviously wasn’t our prettiest match. We fought through the whole game. Like they said, Washington did play better than us, but we kept fighting and to get that goal in the last [minute]…
(On the extra time equalizer) “I was in the back and I just saw the ball go in. I was like “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.” I just saw Lynn coming forwards and she heads it in. Just an unbelievable feeling. As soon as she scored I had no doubt in my mind we were going to get the job done.”
(On her mentally entering the penalty shootout) “Being able to go into PKs and knowing Lynn was able to get that goal for us. The team did so well to equalize the game, it was my job to save the day. It’s just a gut feeling. As soon as Lynn scored I knew we were going to win in PKs. Just the confidence and the sureness that I was going to save. And it’s funny, one of the players said, Taylor (Smith) said, “You’re going to save three of them.” It’s just the way it worked out. I couldn’t have done it without them equalizing on the field.”
Western New York Flash D Abby Dahlkemper
(On the difference with Paul Riley as head coach this season)”It’s very different. As soon as Paul came in, he’s such a player’s coach and was really just all for us. He listened to us and he fixed the things that we needed to fix in order to be in this situation. I just think even off the field, the players were together and we love each other and you can just tell the union off the field translates straight on it and we believe in each other.”
(On what she saw on the play as Lynn Williams scored the tying goal) “We knew we needed to go direct in the last couple minutes of the game. I think it came from the left side – it’s honestly such a blur – she just gambled on a ball that was in the air. We were doing well putting balls in dangerous areas. Lynn (Williams) is an amazing forward and amazing finisher and got her head on it. It was just so surreal. It was unbelievable. I think we were all so exhausted. We just knew that this was coming though, because we believed in each other and were going to fight for the last whistle.”
(On her mindset between Washington F Crystal Dunn’s second goal and Western New York F Lynn Williams’ tying goal) “There was definitely a momentum shift in the game, but we’ve played 22 games now and we knew there would be momentum shifts. We had to keep our heads high and just stay in the game and it wasn’t over and we knew that. we knew if we were going to get a half chance we were going to bury it and that’s what happened, and I’m very proud of us.”
Western New York D Abby Erceg
(Thoughts on the game) “I think going on from Paul. I don’t think it was our best performance. I think we definitely played some better games, some better football. At the end of the day we got the job done and came away with the win. I agree. I think Washington played really well and I think they probably got the better of us for most of the game. Fortunately for us we’ve practiced being down by a goal, two goals, and how we’re going to solve a problem if that did occur. We were able to pull that out and our golden boot. Obviously Sabrina coming out with a few saves.”
(On the extra time equalizer) “I was right next to her when she scored it. We knew it was going to be a last effort ball. We just had to put anything we absolutely could on it and thankfully for us Lynn (Williams) is a specimen. A specimen athlete and she can jump and get a ball over a goal keeper and so we were fortunate for that. And I think we have a little luck on our side. It managed to do that for us. Credit to Lynn for being able to do that and for the girls to push through as well.”
(On what keep them in the game and led to the equalizer) I think the previous week and the previous game took a little bit out of us. It was a tough game against Portland. They really took it to us. Obviously, 120 minutes of football isn’t normal, and obviously travelling across the country as well. I think it all added up. We were tired going into the game, more so than I thought we would be. And it does play a little bit of a factor. We had no coach on the sideline. I think that added a little bit of a factor as well.
Western New York Flash F Jessica McDonald
(On what she saw on the play on Western New York F Lynn Williams’ tying goal) “It was a throw in coming from (D) Jaelene Hinkle and we kind of played back and forth. She played me and I saw how open I was and opened up my hips and I literally saw Lynn at the back post and prayers started coming as soon as the ball went up in the air, hoping we would just get a head on it. She beat the ‘keeper to the ball so it was just an absolutely incredible moment. The cool thing is our mentality was, ‘You know, we’ve come back in games before.’ The last time we played here in Houston we had 30 seconds left in the game and we ended up tying it 3-3. Why the heck not? We got nothing to lose, this is the championship.
(On the tactics of the match after Washington took the lead in extra time) “Washington did a really good job at holding the ball, playing it to the corners, kind of putting us under pressure still. So that was the most challenging part of the game, but we still kept our heads up, whatever chances we got we tried to take. We tried to play a little but more direct. Once (Washington F) Crystal (Dunn) scored the second goal we thought ‘OK, this is going to be a long overtime.’ We just had to keep believing in ourselves.”
(on any sense of personal redemption after playing on nine teams since high school) “It’s been quite a journey, honestly. Learning things from different coaches, different organizations, it was just a really cool experience overall being on so many different teams and knowing so many people in general.”
(On halftime adjustments her team had to make without suspended head coach Paul Riley) “As soon as we recognized [that Washington was playing with three defenders], (F) Lynn and I were talking ‘OK, we have to pressure here because they have three in the back. We ended up changing our formation at halftime because we wanted to match them up a little bit. It worked a little bit, I know they had a lot of the possession but we still kept our heads up.”
Western New York Flash M Sam Mewis
(On how the club approached this match) “None of us really expected this until a certain point in the season where [Flash head coach] Paul [Riley] just cultivated this mentality like, ‘We’re the underdog. It is us against the world. If you guys believe it, there’s no one that can stop you.’ Paul – I cannot say enough good things about him – we could not have done this without him. I have no doubt. I am eternally so grateful to him for giving us this experience and giving all of these young players this place to come and make this family and I’ll never forget this team. This is one of the most special things that has ever happened to me.”
(On adjusting to the Washington Spirit’s approach to playing with three center backs) “[Our approach] changed a little bit – they definitely came out and did a little bit of a formation or personnel difference that we weren’t expecting. I think we adjusted okay. I don’t think we performed very well – like I’m just not thinking about it anymore because I’m so glad that we won and it says so much about the team to give in to new things all the time and to have to play against such talented and great, prepared teams like for us to adapt and pull it out even though we didn’t have our best game – we’re just so spirited. We believe in each other and so passionate – I definitely think it was a surprise for us but we adapted okay and it worked out.”
(On the team’s underdog mentality) “I think just never giving up hope. In Portland, coming back and tying it 2-2 and I think we had a couple of minutes where we were like, ‘Oh my God, they’re so good and they’re down our throats. They’re relentless.’ We’re in a bubble and it’s us against the world and we’re the underdog mentality – it makes you connect with everyone else on your team and it makes you never really give up hope. I think that came back today and it helped us get the trophy.”
(On scoring a goal in the final) “It was important. I think it would have been different if we went into halftime down a goal and I’m glad that it happened. We have fought back from being down so many times this season that we kind of knew that we could, we’ve always known that we could. ”
Western New York Flash F Lynn Williams
(On her scoring the goal that sent the game to penalty kicks) “Yeah, you know – it’s incredible, I’m at a loss for words. [WNY Flash F] Jess[icca McDonald] put in an amazing cross and it was high enough where I could get there and just enough that it was out of their reach. I went for it and I was like ‘It’s either now or never.’ I think the clock was winding down, I knew that we were in the extra time of the overtime and I was like ‘If it doesn’t happen now it’s probably not going to happen.’ I just went for it and it paid off. I’m just so incredibly happy and – holy crap.”
(on finishing the season with the NWSL Championship after winning the MVP and Golden Boot) “It’s been a whirlwind of a year, of the last two weeks. I feel like I’ve worked really, really hard for this moment – not just me but this entire team. We keep talking about it’s our story and we get to write it. In the middle of the season we were a little shaky and I know people wrote us off until this exact game. I don’t know if anyone expected us to win. We were like ‘You know what, we’re in this final, we get to write our story.’ We did. It’s just amazing. Personally, I’m still at a loss for words. There are no words for [all of the accolades].”
(on her partnership with WNY Flash F Jessica McDonald) “It’s just an unspoken thing among us. We really work well together. We’re close enough where if we get frustrated we can say it and no one takes it to heart. I think that’s what really makes us work. We can take the criticism and say ‘This is what I need from you. This is what you need from me.’ I think that’s really helped. She’s an incredible player and helped me tremendously. She’s a veteran and I’m just a young pup trying to learn my way and she has definitely guided me. So I think that’s amazing.”
Washington Spirit Head Coach Jim Gabarra
(Overall thoughts on the game) “It’s a great display and advertisement for the quality of play in our league. Both teams really committed to playing their style, and I thought you saw a clash of styles tonight. In my opinion, most of the time, we were the better side. But the better side doesn’t always win in these matches, especially in something as late as four minutes of added time. And to go to penalty kicks, it’s an awful way to decide a match, but credit to Western New York for never quitting and battling, just like they’ve done all season, and getting the tying goal there at the end. It’s a difficult loss and will be very difficult for us for a long time.”
(On Western New York’s equalizer and how that play went) “Obviously it was a short throw. I think the team was expecting a long throw. They threw it in to (Western New York F Jessica) McDonald and we didn’t get out quick enough, but when you talk about a 120 minutes of fatigue and players, you know my initial instinct was that (Washington GK Stephanie Labbe) she didn’t need to come. You take your chance of her beating a defender or two and getting something in the corner of the goal and make the save. But, it’s good to have a goalkeeper who’s confident coming off the line. I guess she felt like she could come in and win it. A lot of their previous crosses were poor quality and going right into her zone, so I think maybe it’s the end of the match. Players make mistakes when they’re fatigued and maybe that’s a mistake that she made.”
(on Washington MF Joanna Lohman not playing for the first time all season) “Yeah, I feel awful for Jo. I actually told her that she would play, that she would have a play in it. But having to sub in a flank player early on was not something we had anticipated. I think (Washington D Alyssa) Kleiner did a great job in there on the flank. That’s why she’s here. It really tied our hands, especially looking at going into overtime, and possibly facing penalties. (Washington F Katie) Stengel is one of our top five for penalties and we felt that we could’ve kept the ball a little bit better in their half. They were reeling, I felt. You know, if we went a little too defensive with Jo, you’re going to get some really good ball-winning qualities at midfield, but it might’ve led us to the situation we faced at the end, where we’re standing in our box and letting them serve stuff into the box.”
(on his thought process in choosing to go with three center backs) “Well, we’ve had four quality center backs all season and it was a combination of the players we had available. We had been working on this secondary system for two months now and it was a perfect matchup to bring it out today. I thought that the three center backs did a great job. Also, (Washington MFs) Tori (Huster) and (Christine) Nairn did a great job shielding those three. We had really good performances from our flank players, so I think for the large majority of the game, they were very ineffective in the attack. At the same time, we had numbers forward and our forwards that we have available now with a couple of injuries were better than the two front themselves. So we looked at a lot of things and it was decision we made early on. The difficult part, like you said was picking which three to play. (Washington D) Whitney (Church) is probably our best tactical defender, that’s probably why she was in there. She’s very strong and physical. Then (Washington D) Shelina (Zadorsky) brings a lot of organizational qualities. (Washington D) Meg (Oyster) we really needed for the aerial abilities. Unfortunately, (Washington D) Estelle (Johnson), who I feel awful for as well, could’ve helped out in any of the roles, but she was not selected and in an emergency, she would’ve been one of those subs for a center back.”
Washington Spirit F Crystal Dunn
(on the team’s feeling after this loss) “The girls and I were just in the locker room saying, you know, obviously that is the worst feeling ever. You know, feeling like you are about to win a game and having gone into PKs and losing on PKs is probably the worst thing that a soccer player ever wants. But you know, that’s the nature of the game, we play this game for the ups and downs and I know for me I am a testament of (it). This game is gonna have a lot of ups and downs in your career. It’s been a long season, we had a really great season and as much as we wanted to, you know, hoist the trophy up at the end of the year. You know we can’t really hang our heads too low. Like I said, long season, we overcome much, so many changes, so many players playing different roles and I think we walk away champions in a sense.”
(on her tying goal) “Yeah, I was one of the two front forwards and actually don’t know how the ball got into our right side. A ball was played into Jess[ica]McDonald and she had quite some time to pick her head up and hit a great service in, and of course, Lynn [Williams] got on the end of it and it was a great finish.”
(on her feelings after the equalizer) “It’s almost like you are choking in your own heart. You are kind of like, ‘whooa, did that just happen?’ We had 30 seconds left in play and it is just one of those crushing, crushing feelings of ‘my God we could have walked away in 30 seconds with this trophy.'”
(on the NWSL and how it’s helped her career) “This is a great league. I always tell people I think this is the top league in the world. You know, we don’t have just two teams who are competitive, it’s literally 10 teams that can beat each other up every single week. I think that’s a very unique thing to be a part of. I think what I was able to accomplish last year and even this year, I feel the league is doing so well, is growing [and] is improving. Obviously, a lot of girls are getting looks and that’s what we need, we need a league that is going to be taken seriously and for people to be watching.”
(on the positives from this season) “Especially for my team, we worked really well together as a team and we are going to grow on that. Just as I said, the league as a whole is always going to be expanding. You know, we are not going to worry about ‘is the league gonna be around next year’? We are working on improving and expanding. It is no longer a question of, ‘oh my gosh, are people going to be able to have something or look forward to next year.’ I think that’s great. Like I said, so many great players are getting built in this league and they are finally getting looks and I think it is awesome.”
(on how to make it back to the final next year) “We will see. Like I said, goodness gracious, it’s not easy, this is a league of 10 potential teams that can be in the final. Like I said, it is a unique feeling.”
(on both teams going to overtime in the semifinals and then again in today’s final) “I think both teams had their period of low in a sense. At the end of the first half, I think, we actually had them. I feel we were moving the ball around them and we had the momentum and unfortunately we couldn’t get a second goal before the half. For a good amount of it our team was feeling pretty confident, pretty fit in a sense. You know, anytime you go into a double overtime, you are going to be tired.”
(on how the tactics changed in the second half) “You are asking the wrong person, because to me nothing really changes. I am one of those people that focuses on me, my role and my goal at the end of the day. For me I didn’t really notice that they changed formations. You know, as a frontrunner I am going against three [or] four people at the time regardless of what [formation] they are in. So, maybe the midfielders have a little more to say on that.”
Washington Spirit Forward Ali Krieger
(overall thoughts on the game) “I mean, they finished the game off and had a good plan. They moved the ball forward and go to serve the ball in and were able to finish. You can’t be upset about that. That’s the game of football and it just didn’t go our way and unfortunately we had to go to PKs. We deserved it. We played so well this season. I’m still so proud of our team. I couldn’t be happier with how we ended. Got to the final. Obviously we wanted to be champions, but I’m still really happy with how we played and the season as a whole.”
(on the game going to penalty kicks) “Yeah, I can’t stand that. That’s not the way that the game should end. We had trained all week and practiced all week and none of us missed any, so it sucks for it to be in the time that it actually has to count, but I think obviously maybe they did their work, found video of where we were going. She (Western New York GK Sabrina D’Angelo) did a great job of saving them. Unfortunately, once again, that’s football and it’s a funny game and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Yeah, it’s just unfortunate. I’m pretty gutted for our team.”
(on what she remembers about the last goal) “I just remember us clearing it out, I guess them playing it in the middle and getting it out wide somehow, and she (Western New York F Jessica McDonald) I guess just served the ball in, hoping for the best, which I think we would’ve done if we were in that situation, as well. That’s what you have to do, try to get the ball in the box and cause some ruckus and they just got on the end of it and our goalkeeper came out and tried to parry it away and as our defenders normally do, are strong and tried to clear it and unfortunately we just couldn’t get on the end of it. They were able to put it in and yeah, that was it. We were so devastated because we had the game. We were sitting pretty, I felt like. We were strong and confident. We had the plan to keep the ball forward into the corners, high and wide and to try and waste time a little bit in the end, because they are really good on transition and we didn’t want that to happen. Which I think unfortunately, they just got the ball wide and just put it in the box and hoped for the best and they got on the end of it.”
Washington Spirit Midfielder Christine Nairn
(overall thoughts on the game) “I think it’s just written on all of our faces right now. I think like (Washington head coach) Jim (Gabarra) said, with four minutes of added time, I don’t think Western New York had much of a look on goal from us that second half. To give away a goal like that with 10, 30 seconds left, it’s just hard to comprehend right now. I don’t think it sums up our season at all. This has been a great year for this team. I’m proud to wear this jersey each and every time. It just is a shame that our season kind of ends up like this like Jim said. This one is going to hurt for a while.”
(no whether they could feel how much time was left as the clock was running out) “Yeah, I think as competitors we always know the game situation. We’re up a goal; we’re down a goal; roughly how much time is left. In that last play, I think I just remember it coming off of (Western New York F) Jess McDonald’s foot and I jumped for all I was worth and there was a collision between me, (Western New York F) Lynn Williams, and (Washington D Alyssa) Kleiner and then the crowd went wild and it all happened so fast, so we were doing great all game. Working on those clearances and getting the ball out of the box, making hard plays and the one chance that they got, they put it away. Credit to them, they’re a hard-working team. They won at the end of the day. Like we said, we’re going to watch the film and go over this and learn from it. We’re going to be back.”