NWSL Finals Will Feature Several With Long Island Roots

NWSL, Emily Menges, Portland Thorns, NWSL
Emily Menges. Photo: Portland Thorns

The NWSL championship matchup is set and Long Island will be well represented as the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns will meet Saturday afternoon in Portland.

On Tuesday, the Courage defeated Chicago Red Stars 2-0 in a match played at Providence Park in Portland. Originally scheduled for this past Saturday in North Carolina, the match was shifted to Oregon due to the impact of Hurricane Florence.

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Portland advanced to the finals with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Seattle Reign in a match played this past Saturday at Providence Park.

A key cog in North Carolina’s offense all season has been Rockville Centre-native Crystal Dunn, who assisted on the opening goal against Chicago as she slipped a pass to Courage forward Jess McDonald. Also on the active roster for head coach Paul Riley, who himself has ties to the Long Island soccer community, were East Islip’s Cari Roccaro and Rockville Centre’s Meredith Speck. Neither player saw game action on Tuesday.

Portland defensive features Garden City native Emily Menges, who this season overcame injuries issues to play in 16 matches for the Thorns.

The finals feature the league’s two best teams. North Carolina has been a force throughout 2018 finishing the regular season at 17-1-6 (WLD) while the Thorns closed out the regular season at 12-6-6. The Courage finished the season with 53 goals scored and a plus-36 goal differential while Portland scored 40 goals with a plus-12 goal differential.

Game time Saturday is 4:30 p.m. eastern time and the match will be aired live on Lifetime.