CHICAGO – In what could become the first 2017 semifinal match up, the Red Stars look to finish the regular season strong as they take on Portland Thorns FC in the final game of the 2017 NWSL regular season on Saturday, September 30. The match will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT, and will be live as Lifetime’s Game of the Week.
After last week’s 3-2 victory against the Houston Dash, Chicago sealed their spot in playoffs for the third-straight year. The Red Stars notched the first two goals in the first 20 minutes of the match. Jen Hoy earned her second of the year off Christen Press’ fifth assist. Defender Casey Short tallied her first goal of the season.
Houston was given a penalty kick for a foul in the box, letting Amber Brooks narrow the scoreline. However, Chicago quickly brought it back to a two-goal deficit in first half stoppage time when Christen Press converted a penalty kick for the Red Stars. Press continues to lead the team in goals, while also recording the single-season record for goals in club history with 11.
During the last Game of the Week, Orlando traveled to Portland to try their hand at clinching the final playoff spot. The two teams battled to a scoreless draw. On the stat sheet, Orlando looked to be the better team, hitting 14 shots to Portland’s five. The Pride’s backline also came up big, blocking seven shots, compared to the Thorns two blocks. Despite the draw, the Thorns saw U.S. Women’s National Team star Tobin Heath make her NWSL debut this season in the 60th minute of the match.
The matchup between Chicago and Portland will be the third time the teams meet this year, with both prior games ending in defeat for the Red Stars (0-1, 2-3).
Coming into the match, Chicago’s captain Press is ranked third in the league with goals (11), while the Thorn’s top scorer and captain Christine Sinclair is sixth (8). Press also shares in the glory as she has created the most chances for the Red Stars (28) and earning her most assists in a season with five.
Despite Portland having the better record overall and on their home soil, Chicago will look to finish the season with a victory, as the Red Stars have the second best road record, earning 16 points away.
After the final week of regular season play, the Red Stars will await their semifinal opponent, depending on their result against Portland and Orlando’s result against North Carolina. The NWSL semifinals will take place on October 7 and 8, at 2:30 p.m. CT on Lifetime.