Goals from Heath and Sinclair saw the Thorns victorious | (Credit: Meg Linehan) Goals from Heath and Sinclair saw the Thorns victorious | (Credit: Meg Linehan)

The Portland Thorns have defeated the Western New York Flash 2 - 0 to capture the inaugural NWSL Championship at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester.

A sensational Tobin Heath free kick prior to half time and Christine Sinclair strike in second half stoppage time saw the visitors claim the title despite being reduced to 10 midway through the match.

As was indicative of the two matches the Flash and Thorns contested this season, the opening 10 minute was tense contest but was the Flash who fashioned the first real effort when Abby Wambach picked out Sam Kerr 8 yards out. Kerr's goalward bound header was tipped onto the underside of the crossbar by Karina LeBlanc to keep the scores level.

It wasn't long before the Thorns had their first opportunity when Marian Dougherty's cross was latched onto by captain Christine Sinclair. Again it was the goalkeepers to the rescue as Adriana Franch tipped the header over the crossbar for a corner.

On the half Nikki Marshall squandered a golden chance when she found herself in space but the defender struck wide as did Flash midfielder Carli Lloyd just second later.

Finally five minutes before the break the deadlock was broken when Tobin Heath was brought down in the 40th, 25 yards out directly in front. This time the Thorns' midfielder made the Flash pay with a superb free kick.

The second half saw the home side start strongly as they pushed for an equalizer but a physical encounter turned up to boiling point when Kat Williamson received two yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes to leave the Thorns with 10 players.

Western New York went on the attack with Lloyd forcing another save from LeBlanc just after the hour mark and substitute Vicki DiMartino also going close with a strike towards the far post.

Despite the pressure on the chances the Flash were unable to breach the Thorns defence and Sinclair put the icing on the cake when she latched onto an Alex Morgan through ball, finishing low and hard at the far post


Western New York Flash: Adrianna Franch, Katherine Reynolds, Brittany Taylor, Estelle Johnson, Sarah Huffman, Angela Salem, Amy Barczuk, Samantha Kerr, Carli Lloyd, Adriana, Abby Wambach (Capt.)

Portland Thorns: Karina LeBlanc, Marian Dougherty, Kathryn Williamson, Rachel Buehler, Nikki Marshall, Allie Long, Meleana Shim, Angie Kerr, Tobin Heath, Danielle Foxhoven, Christine Sinclair (Capt.)










Tobin Heath




              Christine Sinclair

Alex Morgan