Crystal Dunn came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Portland Thorns a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Wave in the first of two semi-finals on Sunday in the National Women’s Soccer League.
They will face Kansas City Current, who beat OL Reign in Sunday’s later game, thanks to goals from Alexis Loera and Kristen Hamilton. The Current are in just their second season after finishing bottom of the league in 2021.
Dunn has been easing her way back after giving birth to a son five months ago. Her goal came off a corner about three minutes into stoppage time. Taylor Kornieck put the Wave up early with a header off a cross from Alex Morgan in the eighth minute. The Thorns equalized with Rocky Rodriguez stunning volley in the 20th minute.
The semi-finals come amid continuing fallout over an investigation that found systemic misconduct and abuse across the league. In the investigation, former US attorney general Sally Yates detailed the Thorns’ handling of harassment and sexual coercion allegations leveled at former coach Paul Riley. Riley coached Portland in 2014-15. Two former players, Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, accused Riley of misconduct last year in a report in The Athletic. After the release of the Yates investigation, two Thorns executives were fired.
The announced crowd was 22,030 at Providence Park. Fans came out in support of the players but there have been calls for Thorns owner Merritt Paulson to sell the team.
The Thorns have won two NWSL championships, in 2013 and 2017.