Houston (CBS Houston) – The city of Houston, BBVA Compass Stadium and the Dynamo are well on their way to producing an exciting and enjoyable event that will conclude the 2016 NWSL season.
Sunday’s NWSL Championship game between Washington and Western New York is being viewed as a David and Goliath type matchup with Washington being the team that is supposed to be in the championship game, the favorite and the second best team in the regular season that has taken their rightful seat at the championship table.
Ali Krieger is the most notable name on Washington and has been a fixture on the United States women’s national team. Once the United States were eliminated from Olympic play, Krieger rushed back to her club team in an effort to put Washington in the spot they’ve found themselves.
“This team is just as important, this league is just as important, if you don’t take it seriously from the very beginning, we could have went in a different direction,” Krieger said.
Western New York head coach, Paul Riley, would be the first to tell you that his team is the underdog, the team that has no business being one of the league’s final two, but since they’re here, why not win it all?
“We set no goals for them, we didn’t say the word playoffs once the entire season,” Riley said.
While Western New York may be the underdog in Sunday’s match, they don’t come in without firepower. Lynn Williams, the 2016 NWSL Golden Boot winner and the soon to be named league MVP, brushes aside the individual accolades in hopes of helping a team with great chemistry to a NWSL crown.
“We are just all so young, and we love each other. We actually get along off the field so well. This is probably the most close knit team I’ve ever been on,” Williams said.
Houston doesn’t have a dog in the fight other than to put on a good show in front of all the NWSL eyes on Sunday. For the second season, the NWSL will play their championship game on a neutral site. Ticket sales and local support for the game have been strong, and the entire lower bowl is nearly sold out with a few single seat exceptions.
“I think it’s good, if you don’t have an all-star game, (to have) your premier event at a neutral site,” Washington Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra said. “Specifically where our game is now, I think it’s great that it’s an MLS backed team, because there’s more leverage, there’s more support, there’s more selling, and to have it in Houston, which is a soccer nuts town, I think it’s great.”