Red Stars ready for NWSL playoffs


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The Chicago Red Stars finished their season 11-5-8 with a chance to make noise in the NWSL playoffs.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League wrapped up their regular season with a 1-0 victory over the Orlando Pride Friday.

With their victory in the season finale, Chicago was able to earn the number four seed with a record of 11-5-8. Friday’s victory also allowed the Red Stars to secure their sixth consecutive appearance in the postseason, becoming the first team in the history of the NWSL to do so.

“It’s great for the club, credit to the players that have been here the whole time,” head coach Rory Dames said in a Chicago Tribune article following Friday’s match.

During the course of their 2020-2021 campaign, the Red Stars were able to notch two three-game winning streaks. 

The first of these streaks took place within the first three weeks of July. Chicago began by traveling to Washington D.C. to defeat the Washington Spirit 1-0 on July 2. The team then returned home to triumph over the Houston Dash 2-1 and the OL Reign 3-1 on July 11 and July 18, respectively.

The other win streak occurred in the final three games of regular season action. The Red Stars defeated the Pride on Oct. 13 and Oct. 29 by a score of 1-0 in both matches. Chicago also earned a 2-1 win over Kansas City NWSL on Oct. 16. in between the two games against Orlando. 

Forward Kealia Watt led the team in goals on the year, scoring five times in 24 matches. Watt also tied with fellow forward Mallory Pugh in the category for most assists, with both players rendering four.

Thanks to their performance over the course of 24 games, the Red Stars saw a number of players get called-up to the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Forward Mallory Pugh and defenders Casey Kreuger and Tierna Davidson are currently listed on the roster for the USWNT after having been called up for the series against Korea Republic in late October. The USWNT went on to draw with Korea 0-0 on Oct. 21 and achieve a 6-0 blowout victory on Oct. 26.

The trio was also joined by fellow Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Julie Ertz at the USWNT’s camp but both were inactive due to rehabbing injuries.

With the players that were called-up now likely returning to the club, Chicago will prepare to host the fifth-seeded NJ/NY Gotham FC at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview for the NWSL Championship quarterfinals. The winner of the match will advance to the semifinal round to challenge the top-seeded Portland Thorns FC.

Sunday’s postseason game will also feature the homecoming of Red Stars’ former assistant coach Scott Parkinson, who was hired to coach Gotham FC on Aug. 31. After being unable to attend the two team’s most recent matchup on Sept. 4, Sunday will be the first time Chicago sees Parkinson on the opposing side of the field.

The match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT Sunday and will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. Tickets are currently available for purchase on their website.