MATCH INFO: Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage on Sunday, October 8. Kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT on Lifetime.
SERIES HISTORY: Since transitioning to North Carolina, the Courage and Red Stars have played each other three times this year. Chicago has taken wins in all three games (3-1, 3-2, 2-1), becoming the only team North Carolina has yet to beat. In the 8-4 score difference, Vanessa DiBernardo has scored two goals against the Courage, while Danielle Colaprico, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Mautz, Yuki Nagasato and Christen Press have each tallied one. Press has earned three assists against North Carolina in 2017.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA: Coming into the Playoffs with a 16-7-1 record, the Courage have coveted the top spot all but two weeks of play – Week 1 and Week 14, which Chicago held first place. Forward Lynn Williams leads the Courage with nine goals, who trails Press (11). Leading NWSL Rookie of the Year candidate Ashley Hatch is close behind with seven goals, while captain Samantha Mewis tallies six goals and three assists. Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland has been strong in the net, stopping 76% of shots, while earning eight shutouts in 16 appearances. The Courage finished the regular season with their eighth loss. After falling 2-0 in the first 51 minutes, Williams tallied a brace in a five-minute span to equalize the match. But a second-half stoppage time goal gave Orlando the victory, giving North Carolina its third loss on home soil.
RED STARS MILESTONES: With her 11th goal of the season, Christen Press set a single season record for the Red Stars franchise. Press currently sits at 36 goals in just 62 appearances for Chicago.
USWNT CALL-UP: Sofia Huerta earned her first call from the U.S. Women’s National Team and earned her first cap on September 15, when the U.S. took on New Zealand. Huerta, 24, had been called in to the previous camp, but did not dress for the games due to the U.S. WNT trying to gain the rights from Mexico, in which Huerta played five games for.
YOUNG & EXPERIENCED SQUAD: The Red Stars have one of the youngest rosters in the league with seven players 23 years of age or younger. However, a majority of the team has been together for three seasons, making it one of the most cohesive teams in the league.
THREE-PEAT: The Red Stars have sealed their third-consecutive playoff after defeating Houston in Week 23. In prior years, Chicago finished the regular season in second (2015) and third (2016), while this year, the team ended the regular season in fourth place behind North Carolina, Portland and Orlando.
NWSL FINAL: The winner of the Chicago vs. North Carolina Semifinal will play the winner between Portland and Orlando in the 2017 NWSL Final on Saturday, October 14, at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. CT and broadcast live on Lifetime.