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 semifinal matches Sunday in the National Women’s Soccer League.
The Thorns will face the winner of the late game between OL Reign and the Kansas City Current in the league championship game next weekend in Washington.
Dunn, who also plays for the U.S. national team, has been easing her way back after giving birth to a son five months ago. Her goal from out front 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.
U.S. Soccer commissioned former acting U.S. 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. Fans came out in support of the players but there have been calls for Thorns owner Merritt Paulson 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.
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