This year marks the third-straight semifinal run for Chicago, tying the likes of FC Kansas City (2013-2015) and Washington Spirit (2014-2016) for the most consecutive National Women’s Soccer League semifinal appearances in league history.
Here’s a look back through the last two seasons and how the Red Stars reached the final four:
Just before competing in their first-ever playoff match, Chicago finished the regular season in second place with 33 points. Seattle Reign FC clinched the Supporter’s Shied with 43 points, while FC Kansas City (32) came shy of Chicago in third with the Washington Spirit (30) taking the final semifinal position.
With home field advantage after placing in the top two teams, Chicago hosted third-place Kansas City on September 13. The Red Stars finished the regular season with just one loss on home soil. In the two matchups against FCKC in 2015, Chicago had the upper hand, defeating Kansas City 2-1 on the road and drawing 2-2 at home.
During the semifinal, Chicago conceded early on in the 12th minute by forward Amy Rodriguez. Less than 15 minutes later, FCKC would score two more goals, tallying one for Erica Tymrak and a brace for Rodriguez. The Red Stars would never regain control and were unable to find the back of the net once, ending their season in a 3-0 defeat to the eventual NWSL Champions.
Chicago finished the regular season in third place, again with 33 points, trailing Portland Thorns FC (41) and Washington Spirit (39), but just landing just above Western New York Flash (32).
It was the Red Stars who eliminated FC Kansas City from their fourth playoffs and the possibility of a third-straight NWSL Championship. Not able to host a semifinal, the Red Stars traveled to Washington D.C. to play the Spirit on September 30.
Chicago had more of a battle going into the match, losing to Washington on the road (2-0), but defeating the Spirit in the final game of the season (3-1). But despite conceding a goal in the first half, Chicago stepped it up and Christen Press equalized with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
The match eventually was lead into overtime. Neither team was able to score in the first 15 minutes, but Francisca Ordega notched the game winner in the 111th minute, ending Chicago’s run to the Finals.
Going into the 2017 NWSL Semifinal, Chicago’s opponent is still up in the air, as Portland is just two points behind North Carolina competing for the NWSL Shield. North Carolina still has two matches to play, and could seal the number one spot in tonight’s make-up match against the Houston Dash.