Heading into the final quarter of the season, the Red Stars are looking to continue its road to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Playoffs, but Chicago still has six games to finish out the regular season.
Here’s a look into what remains in store for the Red Stars:
One Team Clinched
Of the nine teams in the NWSL, just one team has clinched a spot in the Playoffs with six games remaining. At no surprise, North Carolina Courage has been dominating the league, falling just once in a late-game goal, while going 14-1-3 for a total of 45 points.
Tight Race and Tough Finish
Going into the final quarter, only nine points separates second place and seventh place in the standings. Essentially, the final three Playoff spots are still up for grabs between six teams. Seattle Reign FC sits in second place with 29 points, followed closely by Orlando Pride and Chicago Red Stars with 28 points each. Portland Thorns FC just edges out of the post-season play with 26 points, while Utah Royals FC and Houston Dash aren’t out of the Semifinal picture, as they hold onto 21 and 20 points, respectively. This will be one of the toughest finishes for the Red Stars as they look to take on North Carolina, Seattle, Portland, Orlando and Utah in the final five games of the regular season; the final four on the road. Minus North Carolina who have already clinched, all teams are still in the hunt for the final three Playoff spots.
Opposites at Home
The final two home games at Toyota Park will be two completely different teams for the Red Stars. On July 28, Chicago will host the last place team, Sky Blue FC, who has yet to earn a victory this season, totaling three points off draws and having a -19-goal difference. Sky Blue still has ground to make up, playing only 15 games this season so far, three less games than Chicago. After the FIFA break, the Red Stars will host first-place North Carolina for the final home game of the season. North Carolina leads the league with 45 points, adding a 27-goal differential.
Powerful June and July
The Red Stars went 5-1-1 the past seven matches, stretching between June and July. Despite the only loss coming in a 4-1 defeat against North Carolina, Chicago sealed several key three-point games coming into the final quarter. During the time span, Sam Kerr has become the first NWSL player to tally 50 goals in her career. The biggest three points came in Chicago’s last match against Seattle, where Kerr’s late goal made the difference.
Dynamic Duo Up Front
Chicago has showcased some great duos up front, but none as spectacular as Sam Kerr and Yuki Nagasato. The Japanese international currently leads the league with five assists, all of which lead to Kerr goals. Nagasato has also added four goals herself this season, one coming from a Kerr assist. With Nagasato’s distribution and Kerr ability to finish, these are two players to watch together coming into the final matches of the regular season.
After a Bye Week, the Red Stars return to action Saturday, July 28, when they host Sky Blue FC. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast live on the NWSL app and go90 app. Tickets are available here.
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