Last week, we told you about how the LA Strikers were within, er, striking distance of the playoffs. If they won their final two games in Colorado, then they would have a shot of getting to the postseason.
Well, mission accomplished. The Strikers won both games, beating the Colorado Rapids women 2-1 Thursday behind late goals from Melissa Fernandez and Kristy Moore, then finished the job Sunday with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rush, with an early penalty kick by Victoria Boardman, followed by goals from Moore and Jamie Bell.
With that, the Strikers got to 24 points on the season, riding a five-match winning streak to end the season. As luck would have it, the Seattle Sounders women, who were in first or second place in the Western Conference all season, lost to the Bay Area Breeze 2-0, giving the Strikers the break they needed to get into the postseason, their first berth in team history.
So, the season comes down to the Western Conference final, which will be this Sunday at Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton against the Pali Blues at 12:30 pm PT. Although the Blues have won two W-League titles, in 2008 and 2009, and were finalists last season, and remained above their local rival Strikers all season in the standings, LA gave them their only two losses of the season. Can the Strikers make it three in a row, or will Pali finally get the Strikers' number? It should be fascinating, and if you are available, you should really head to the stadium and check it out! You can find ticket information here.
The winner of the Western Conference final will advance to the final four in Bradenton, Florida, where they will play to determine the overall champion July 26-28.
Best of luck to the Strikers Sunday! It will be another rivalry match, but plenty of us here in Southern California will be rooting for you to win the West!
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