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News / Sports / Soccer

NWSL: Thorns earn home playoff berth

By Associated Press
Published: September 11, 2016, 10:01pm

The Portland Thorns held off the Western New York Flash 3-2 on Sunday to earn home-field advantage in the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs.

A penalty kick by Nadia Nadim, and goals by Christine Sinclair and Dagny Brynjarsdottir had Portland ahead 3-0 after 69 minutes.

The Thorns drew a sellout crowd of 21,114 to Providence Park, a new league record.

The Thorns, Spirit and Chicago Red Stars have secured playoff berths, with the Seattle Reign and Flash battling for the fourth spot going into the last weekend of the regular season. The Flash visit the Boston Breakers on Saturday, Sept. 24, before the Reign visit the Houston Dash the next day.

Megan Rapinoe locked arms with her teammates and stood during the national anthem Sunday night before the Reign beat the Washington Spirit 2-0 to stay alive in the playoff picture.

Rapinoe kneeled during the anthem last weekend at a Reign match in Chicago to express solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did not stand for the anthem during the NFL preseason to bring attention to racial inequality.

On Wednesday during a match in Washington against the Spirit, the anthem was played before the teams took the field rather than “subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent,” the team said in a statement citing the personal beliefs of team owner Bill Lynch. Spirit players collectively released a statement Friday saying that the team did not necessarily agree with the owner’s opinions or actions.

Beverly Yanez and Keelin Winters both scored for the Reign in the victory over the Spirit in Seattle on Sunday night. The Reign got help in their bid for a playoff berth by Portland’s win.

Carli Lloyd scored a pair of goals in the Houston Dash’s 4-1 victory over the Boston Breakers on Sunday. Both teams have already been eliminated. The Red Stars and FC Kansas City played to a scoreless draw.

Sky Blue FC defeated the Orlando Pride 2-1 on Saturday night.