Thursday was a big day in a big week for the Western New York Flash.
On Sunday, the Flash will play for all the NWSL marbles in the title game against the Washington Spirit. The team arrived in Houston for the game late Wednesday night.
It took less than 24 hours for the Flash to log a few more accomplishments.
Forward Lynn Williams was named league MVP on Thursday. She was tied for the league lead with 11 goals this season and fourth in assists with five. Teammate Jessica McDonald actually led the NWSL with 17 points (10 goals and seven assists).
“It’s pretty incredible. I was a bit shocked when I found out. I’m not gonna lie,” Williams said. “There are so many amazing players in this league. To be considered one of them is just incredible. I’m pretty speechless about that. I found out (Wednesday) night so that was cool. Called my mom.”
Williams was also one of three players called up to the US Women’s National Team roster. Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper joined her.
The perfect capper to the week would be a championship win on Sunday. It’s a shock the Flash even made it this far. Most experts pegged them for a bottom of the standings finish.
A young team blossomed much quicker than expected, in large part because of how well they came together.
“We’ve worked so hard to be here,” Williams said. “Every suicide mile (head coach) Paul (Riley) has made us do. Every training where maybe it just wasn’t the day for you. I think all that is bottled up and we’re just so focused going in.”
McCall Zerboni called this week a “whirlwind”. The Flash stunned Portland in front of over 20,000 Sunday night in Oregon. WNY scored twice in extra time to win their semifinal match 4-3.
The squad flew back to Buffalo Monday, got one practice in and were back on a plane Wednesday for the trip to Houston.
“Right now, just getting the legs moving. Getting used to the air and the humidity. Getting outside and getting a feel for things,” Zerboni said. “Getting on grass. We haven’t played on grass in a while. Just shaking off some cobwebs from the travel.”
No matter what happens Sunday, the Flash will remember this season much more for what has been gained than anything lost.
Of course, winning a championship is always better than not winning.
“We’re such a young group and we’re all really, really close emotionally,” Mewis said. “We have such great team camaraderie that it would be so special for all of us to get the win and to get to share that.”