San Diego Wave FC, Kansas City Current advance to NWSL semifinals

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The final spots in the NWSL semifinals were claimed on Sunday as San Diego Wave FC and Kansas City Current won their respective quarter-final matches in thrilling style. 

Over in California, the Wave had to dig deep to turn things around in front of a NWSL playoff-record crowd of 26,215 and ultimately came out on top 2-1 over Chicago Red Stars after extra time.

The hosts initially found themselves in a tough spot only 10 minutes into the match when an error from Canada’s Kailen Sheridan gifted the visitors an early lead. 

A sloppy touch from the goalkeeper saw the ball roll into the path of Yūki Nagasato who chipped Sheridan from well outside the box to make it 1-0. 

San Diego attempted to throw numbers forward in hopes of finding an equalizer yet were unable to link up in the final third. Chicago, on the other hand, were well alert with Mallory Pugh leading the charge up front.

The game remained 1-0 at half-time and the atmosphere shifted in favour of the hosts coming out after the break. 

San Diego brought Sofia Jakobsson and Makenzy Doniak off the bench and the fresh legs added a spark to their attack which led to Emily van Egmond tying the match in the 67th-minute.

Everything was up for grabs as the clock counted down at Snapdragon Stadium but neither side could find a late winner as the match went into extra time.

San Diego’s momentum in the second half continued to spill over and Golden Boot winner Alex Morgan tested goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher on multiple occasions before scoring the winner in the 110th minute.

With the result, Canada’s Bianca St-Georges (suspended) is now eliminated with Chicago while Sheridan and the Wave move on.

Looking ahead, San Diego will face Christine Sinclair’s Portland Thorns FC in the next round on Sunday.

Current stun Dash with 100th-minute winner

Kansas City Current booked their spot in the 2022 NWSL semifinals after a dramatic 2-1 win over Houston Dash on Sunday in stoppage time.

It did not take long for the Current to open the scoring as a mistake allowed Lo’eau LaBonta to step up to the penalty spot five minutes in. Her strike went past goalkeeper Jane Campbell to hand Kansas City an early lead.

But the Dash managed to get themselves back into the match over time as they dominated possession and limited Kansas City to just one shot in the opening 45 minutes.

Eventually, the relentless pressure led to the hosts blasting in a strike of their own.

Canada’s Sophie Schmidt was left unmarked in the box and hit a volley from a tight angle to tie the game, recording her fourth goal for the Dash this season.

WATCH | Schmidt’s striking volley draws Houston level:

Canada’s Schmidt scores in Dash’s elimination loss to Current

Sophie Schmidt of Abbotsford, B.C., ties the game for Houston but they would eventually fall to Kansas City 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the NWSL Playoffs.

Coming out into the second half the hosts continued to apply pressure and tested goalkeeper Adrianna Franch on multiple occasions, but the American stood tall. 

Unfortunately for Kansas City, the absence of Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott (suspended) left a significant gap in the midfield, allowing Houston to dominate possession. 

Chances continued to fall at either end and it looked as though the match would go into extra time before Kate Del Fava scored in the 100th minute to win it for the visitors.

The goal is the latest non-extra time goal in NWSL history (99:32).

With the result, Canada’s Schmidt, Nichelle Prince and Allysha Chapman (injured) are now eliminated while Scott and the Current move on.

Kansas City will now face OL Reign next Sunday.

The NWSL final is scheduled for Oct. 29. 

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