ROCHESTER — The Western New York Flash are one win from a fourth straight championship.
Taking them there was Carli Lloyd, who scored both goals as the No. 1 seeded Flash beat Sky Blue FC, 2-0, in the semifinals of the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs Saturday night at Sahlen’s Stadium. The game drew 7,316, the second-highest attendance of the season for the Flash.
The goals were Lloyd’s ninth and 10th. Her first came on a low header on a cross from Katherine Reynolds in the 33rd minute. Her second goal was unassisted in the 93rd minute as she outran defenders and directed a hard shot into the upper left corner of the net. The midfielder has scored in five of her last seven games.
Rookie goalkeeper Adrianna Franch earned the shutout. The Oklahoma State graduate leads the NWSL in nearly every category including 101 saves while her 251 shots faced is the third highest for any keeper this year.
The Flash has shut out opponents nine times this season, six at home.
The Flash (11-4-8), unbeaten in the last eight games, will host Portland for the championship Saturday at 8 p.m. Portland punched its ticket by beating FC Kansas City, 3-2, in overtime in its semifinal. Tobin Heath, Allie Long and Tiffany Weimer scored for the Thorns.
The Flash entered the postseason after winning the regular season title on a tiebreaker with FC Kansas City and Portland. Each finished with 38 points. The Flash beat Kansas City head-to-head and edged Portland on goal differential.
The Flash improved to 4-1 against Sky Blue this season with three shutouts. The only loss came in the season opener, when the Flash fell, 1-0, on an own goal.
Since that loss, the Flash have not lost at Sahlen’s and are 9-1-2 in Rochester. In those 12 games, the Flash have more than tripled the goal totals of their opponents, 23-7. Prior to the game, the Flash were presented with the inaugural NWSL Shield.