2015 NWSL Final A Step In The Right Direction For Women's Soccer In The United States

Screaming fans, a sold-out stadium, waving banners and chants from the crowd that reach the players in the locker room before they take the field. This will be the spectacle awaiting Kansas City FC and Seattle Reign FC when they arrive in Portland for this week's 2015 NWSL Final. It will be played in front of a crowd at Providence Park, home of both the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC and, coincidentally, one of the most rabid fan bases in all of soccer.

Seattle Reign Beat Washington Spirit 3-0, Set Up Rematch With Kansas City

What a day it was to be a Seattle reign substitute.

After a scoreless first half that saw Seattle putting all kinds of pressure on the Washington Spirit, Seattle kept pressing. When Beverly Yanez entered the game as a sub, that pressing paid off. Yanez's first touch on the end of a Megan Rapinoe cross broke the deadlock and it was all Seattle from there. 

A few minutes after Yanez's goal, Rapinoe got behind the defense and scored a goal of her own. 

Amy Rodriguez Brace Powers Kansas City Into NWSL Final

The Chicago Red Stars just didn't have an anwer for Kansas City's Amy Rodriguez Sunday.

Kansas City scored three goals in the first 25 minutes of Sunday's NWSL semifinal and coasted 3-0 into the final. 

Two of those three were via Rodriguez, the first coming in the 12th minute, Rodriguez capitalizing on a goalkeeper blunder, and the second coming in the 12th minute after Rodriguez used a nifty move to spring herself for a breakaway.

Kansas City's other goalscorer  was Erika Tymrak, who knew just what to do with an excellent Heather O'Reilly ball in the 21st minute.

NWSL 2015 Playoff Preview: Seattle Reign FC Host Washington Spirit

Fun fact: WashingtonSpirit.com lists Crystal Dunn, who as mentioned in the sub-head won the 2015 NWSL Golden Boot, as a defender. Granted, Crystal Dunn has played her fair share of defense (she won ACC Defensive Player of the Year while at the University of North Carolina), but this seems curious to us. Just an interesting thing we noticed. On to the preview.

NWSL 2015 Playoff Preview: Chicago Red Stars Host FC Kansas City

Ladies and Gentlemen, here we are: The 2015 NWSL playoffs. This Sunday, the best four teams from the regular season (The Seattle Reign, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, and Washington Spirit), will battle it out for a place in the final, and you will be able to catch it all on Fox Sports 1. 

You’re probably asking yourself, “but I don’t know anything about the NWSL? Why should I care when the Chicago Red Stars host FC Kansas City on Sunday, the 13th at 1:30 PM EST?”

Rachel Van Hollebeke Has Retired To Pursue Medicine. We Talk About Her Decision, And Future.

It’s been just a few days since she announced her decision to retire, and Rachel van Hollebeke is busy. She starts medical school on Monday, August 31st, just six days after her announcement on the 25th. That’s six days until a transition that is four years in the making begins. 

Rachel has been deferring acceptance to medical school since 2011. Her decision means that her soccer career is ending, and as much as she has been looking forward to medical school, it was a hard choice to make. 

Ella Masar Talks About YouTube Series: The Ella and Erin Show

Getting to know your favorite athletes as people is one of the great benefits of social media. People tend to forget that athletes are also everyday people. It’s refreshing to hear about their favorite hobbies, and even see one of them drop the “dougie” every now and then. 

See How The Biggest Women's Team in The US Operates In Partnership With An MLS Team

It must be difficult balancing two first teams — a men's team and a women's team — under the umbrella of the same club, but that's what the Portland Timbers and Thorns, and their various associate personnel, have to do to make their business work.

Carli Lloyd Throws Out First Pitch At Mariners Game

Carli Lloyd's pitch was high and wide, but that is a trifling complaint. At least she did better than poor Gio dos Santos. Lloyd threw out the first pitch for the Seattle Mariners while she and her Houston Dash teammates were in town for a game against the Seattle Reign (which the Reign won, 2-1).