Crystal Dunn came off the bench and scored in second-half stoppage time to give the Portland Thorns a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Wave in their NWSL playoff semifinal to book a spot in the championship game.
The Thorns will face the winner of Sunday’s other semifinal between OL Reign and the Kansas City Current next weekend in Washington.
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Dunn, a veteran for the US national team, has been easing her way back after giving birth to a son five months ago. Her goal from the top of the penalty area came off a corner about three minutes into stoppage time.
The semifinals come amid continuing fallout over an investigation that found systemic misconduct and abuse across the league.
US Soccer commissioned former acting US Attorney General Sally Q. Yates to investigate following a series of scandals that rocked the NWSL last season.
Yates’ report came out earlier this month. In it, she 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 as fans came out in support of the players, but there have been calls for Thorns owner Merritt Paulson, who stepped down as CEO, to sell the team.
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’s volley off a bounce in the 20th.
The Thorns have won two NWSL championships, in 2013 and 2017. The Wave are new to the 12-team league this season.