Last week, the 23-year-old forward won the National Women’s Soccer League’s Golden Boot award with 11 goals and five assists during the regular season. Williams edged the Houston Dash’s Kealia Ohai, who had 11 goals with four assists, for the league’s top scoring honor.
Williams also is one of three finalists for league MVP award, with the winner announced next week.
“It feels great. It’s a lot of hard work that is paying off,” said the former Bullard High School and Pepperdine star. “But I can’t do it myself. My teammates are the ones who really earned this. I don’t take on a team by myself. I can’t give myself great passes or make those runs that set up goals. It honors our whole team effort.”
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Williams scored goal No. 11 in last Saturday’s 4-0 victory against Boston that also clinched the last of four NWSL playoff spots.
On Sunday, she will take the field for her most important professional match to date when the Flash (9-6-5) plays at Portland Thorns FC (12-3-5) in the semifinals. The match is at 2 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
11 Regular-season goals including two game-winners by Fresno native Lynn Williams in her second year in the NWSL
The teams met Sept. 11 in Portland, where the Thorns held on for a 3-2 win in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 at Providence Park (Williams scored in that game). The Thorns also won 2-0 at home in Rochester on June 17.
Their third meeting has the biggest consequences and Williams is hoping to get some fuel from Portland’s boisterous crowds and two special fans in her mom and dad. Christine and David Williams are making the trip to Portland, which is the nearest NWSL franchise with the Seattle Reign FC the only other club on the West Coast.
“To play in front of them, that means a lot,” said Williams, who feels she’s in peak form.
One of three finalists for NWSL MVP award, Lynn Williams was also one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy – soccer’s version of the Heisman – in her senior season at Pepperdine.
As her stock rises, so does speculation about if, and when, she will receive a call-up to the U.S. national team. Williams spent parts of three years with the national U-23 side and played at the 2015 Six Nations Cup.
“The (senior) national team is always in the back of your mind – always – but I can’t focus on that right now,” Williams said. “I just need to be the best Lynn I can possibly be for my team.”
That “best Lynn” is the one who helped fuel the Flash to a league-high 40 goals, along with forward Jessica McDonald (10 goals, seven assists) and national team midfielder Samantha Mewis (five goals, two assists).
I’m peaking at the right moments. Right now, I feel awesome.
Lynn Williams, the former Bullard High grad who is on a tear in her second season with the NWSL’s Western New York Flash
“We’ve worked our butts off all year for this,” Williams said. “Last season we didn’t make playoffs. Just being here and coming this far, our entire season comes down to this one game. We deserve to be here. Hopefully we can prove that.”
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH VS. PORTLAND THORNS FC
- When: 2 p.m. in Portland
- TV: Fox Sports 1
- Records: Flash 9-6-5, Thorns FC 12-3-5
- The skinny: Fresno native Lynn Williams (Bullard High/Pepperdine) of the Flash is one of three NWSL MVP finalists, and she won the league’s Golden Boot award with 11 goals and five assists. The Thorns are 8-1-1 at home and have the league’s No. 1 defense, giving up a league-low 19 goals. Portland’s Tobin Heath had a regular-season best 10 assists, feeding teammates Nadia Nadim, Christine Sinclair and Allie Long. The winner will play the Washington Spirit in the NWSL Championship on Sunday, Oct. 9, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The Spirit won 2-1 in extra time against the Chicago Red Stars in the other semifinal.