With NWSL title in sight, the Red Stars prepare for their biggest match in team history
CARY, N.C – Since they began play in 2009 they’ve been in four different leagues – the WPS, WPSL, WPSL Elite and now the NWSL.
It would be easy to make an argument that the match the Chicago Red Stars will play on Sunday afternoon will be the biggest in their history.
At WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, the team will step on the pitch against the host and reigning NWSL champion North Carolina Courage in the league title game at 2:30 PM Chicago time. It will give the Red Stars a shot at their first championship after picking up their first NWSL playoff win last Sunday at home against the Portland Thorns.
The closest they came before was the 2011 season in the WPSL & 2012 WPSL Elite as they lost each season in the championship match. In the NWSL, the Red Stars reached the playoffs for four straight years from 2015-2018 but lost in the semifinal in each season.
This year they’ve passed that challenge, and now have to dethrone the reigning league champions. In three previous match-ups, the Red Stars went 2-0-1 against the North Carolina Courage, tying them in the season opener in Cary 1-1 on April 13th. Just under a month later, they beat them 3-1 in Bridgeview May 12th then again on July 21st 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd at SeatGeek Stadium for their first post Women’s World Cup home match.
Before the contest, the Red Stars got plenty of league accolades after finishing the regular season as the second-best team in the league behind the Courage.
Forward Sam Kerr was named the NWSL MVP on Friday after her 18-goal season was the best in the league. She had the only score in the Red Stars’ victory over Portland in the semifinal, and also made the league’s Best XI squad.
She was joined on the top team by Casey Short and Julie Ertz, while Yuki Nagasato and Alyssa Naeher made the Second XI for the league.
They’ll be in Cary on Sunday in hopes of bringing the Red Stars their first NWSL championship in the club’s biggest match in history.