Petrozavodsk best dating sites for women 2019 reddit Marshall, Barczuk Meet In NWSL Championship Game ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The inaugural National Women’s Soccer League championship game will be a battle between two Buffaloes.

Niimi is ivermectin safe for lactating dogs Former teammates on the University of Colorado soccer team, Amy Barczuk (2009-12) and Nikki Marshall (2006-09) will this time compete against each other as the Western New York Flash and Portland Thorns FC meet in the championship game at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday.

“We are very excited that Nikki and Amy will be representing Colorado soccer in the first NWSL final,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “It is a tremendous accomplishment for both of them and their teams. I have no doubt that the league will continue to grow. We wish them both the best of luck!”

Amy Barczuk

Nikki Marshall

Nikki Marshall

The Western New York Flash earned the NWSL Shield, winning the regular season with a 10-4-8 record. In last Saturday’s semifinals, the Flash met No. 4 seed Sky Blue FC. Behind two goals by Carli Lloyd, the Flash eased their way to the championship game.

Barczuk, who was selected by the Flash in the second round of the NWSL draft (14th overall), made her third professional start in the semifinal game. Though having what she described as an up and down season that saw her getting minutes in seven regular season games, Barczuk went into the playoff game ready to show her physicality.

“I came in because one of our starting midfielders was injured,” Barczuk said. “I played in the game before that against Boston, so our last three regular season games. Playing in that third game helped me get kind of settled in the midfield. Playing in the semifinal game, my coach kind of expected the same physical play out of me – winning everything in the middle and kind of just being that physical presence. If I get the opportunity to play in the championship game, I’m just going to bring that same attitude, and it definitely will help to have that semifinal game experience.”

Marshall has plenty of experience heading into this year’s championship game. She has four years of professional experience under her belt, including a WPSL Elite championship with the Flash in 2012. This season, Marshall has played in and started all of Portland’s games, just one of three Thorns to do so, has played 1,871 minutes, ranking third on the team, and contributed one assist during the regular season.

Thorns FC entered the semifinals as the No. 3 seed and fell behind FC Kansas City 2-0 in the first 25 minutes. Marshall says her team was really good on paper, though seemed to struggle putting everything together in the regular season. It wasn’t until the team’s most recent games that momentum began to swing in their way.

“We’ve had a turnaround,” Marshall said. “I think we’ve kind of realized that we should be a really good team, and we haven’t been performing. We had a couple of meetings before the game on Saturday and just kind of talked about the fact that we need to be more of a team and that we need to maybe be more positive and encouraging and love each other more and play with joy. I think that’s what we did on Saturday. We went out and said, ‘This is unacceptable,’ and then came out on top.”

Kansas City took the early lead behind goals by NWSL Rookie of the Year Erika Tymrak and Melissa Henderson. Tobin Heath helped get the Thorns on the board in the 33rd minute with her first ever goal with the squad. Though Portland had a 0-4-1 regular season record when trailing at halftime, the team’s change in attitude helped break that.

In the 65th minute, Marshall helped give Thorns FC the equalizer, sending a ball to the middle of the penalty box to Tiffany Weimer. With two minutes remaining in the first overtime, Allie Long put the game out of reach, clinching Portland’s ticket to the championship.

“That was just a really exciting game for us,” Marshall said. “We were losing 2-0 in the beginning of the game. We showed a lot of character, and like I said before, I think this is the first time our team, Portland Thorns, has come together and really done something special. So that’s been huge. Getting the assist was awesome. My teammates are incredible, so if I can cross the ball in there, they’re very world-class and can finish anything regardless of what kind of cross it is. That was really exciting. It’s just fun to be part of something like that, especially when we come back from 2-0. It was just awesome.”

Marshall said that that team mentality and positive attitude will be necessary in this Saturday’s final, especially against the Flash, who has won three consecutive championship titles.

“I think we have a solid game plan, and I think that’s probably why we’ve also been on a kind of winning streak, because we have adjusted and it’s the first time in the season that we have done so,” Marshall said. “I think that we have to be a first half and a second half team. We can’t just be a second half team, and we can’t just be a first half team, because that’s how we’ve been all season and that’s been killing us. I think just having that attacking mentality from the very beginning and also being solid defensively is going to be huge for us. It’s going to be a great game. I don’t think there’s a better championship match. We’re excited for it.”

Though having won the 2012 title with the Flash, Marshall says she feels no need for revenge on her former team. If anything, she feels she needs to play to the standards of Flash head coach Aaran Lines.

“I just want to go in there and perform my best because I know that Aaran believes in me,” Marshall said. “He’s given me so much and developed me so much last year as a player. I want to play up to his standards of what he thinks of me.”

Barczuk also feels the need to live up to the high expectations Lines’ has for all his players. In Barczuk’s defensive/midfield position, that means using her 5-10 height and physicality to change the field, winning every head ball and playing the ball simply.

“Coach Lines has developed a great winning culture,” Barczuk said. “He has always had great players play for him, but now it’s about the culture. This would be the fourth championship in, I think, six years at the professional or semi-pro level. That’s pretty impressive. To give him all the credit, he’s just really developed a winning culture here at Western New York.”

There’s also a culture of greatness throughout the league. Barczuk says she’s grown immensely as a player, getting to train with some of the best players in the world, including teammates and U.S. National Team “poster children” Abby Wambach and Carly Lloyd. Wambach and Lloyd will meet their Olympic gold medal teammate Alex Morgan in the championship, something Barczuk and Marshall both believe will help give the game national attention.

“When you have any big name players, it brings attention, especially with Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach playing against each other,” Marshall said. “That’s what makes this league so special as well. The competition is fierce, and there’s not a huge margin of difference between anyone on any of the teams. Everyone has great players, and that’s what makes this so much fun and fun to watch as well.”

The national stage also helps give a spotlight to the two Colorado standouts. Barczuk says that despite Colorado not yet being one of the biggest soccer schools, like North Carolina and Stanford, she and Marshall’s appearance in the title game proves that smaller soccer programs can produce top level professional level players.

Despite the competitive nature of their next meeting, Marshall and Barczuk are excited to play each other, both barely containing their affection for one another.

“I’m just really proud of her,” Marshall said of her former teammate. “It’s always fun to play against your friends. Off the field you’re friends and on the field, you’re still friends, but you’re competitive and you battle with each other. I think it makes it all the more fun. I’m just really excited for her getting this opportunity, and I’m just really proud of her. She’s done a really good job this year.”

While their strong friendship will remain unscathed, one of them will be victorious in Saturday’s championship. The teams’ two previous meetings have both been draws: their first a 1-1 tie in Portland on July 14, and their most recent, a 0-0 draw on August 10 in Rochester. Despite the previous finishes, Barczuk knows the championship will be a whole different game.

“Obviously we hope to one: win the game, and two: win the game in 90 minutes without going into overtime, with no PKs or anything like that,” Barczuk said. “You look back on the last two games, and yeah, they both were ties, but it’s the same two teams, and this the championship game. I think this is almost a completely new type of environment to play in. I think there will be lots of action on Saturday.”

The inaugural NWSL championship game will air on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.



Marlee Horn

Graduate Assistant SID

University of Colorado

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