LOUISVILLE – This is a position they’ve been in a few times before, quite recently in fact.
In 2019, they made the NWSL Championship for the regular season doing so after losing in the semifinals for four-straight years. On that day, the North Carolina Courage bested them in a 4-0 triumph in Cary, North Carolina.
While 2020 didn’t have a regular season, there was a challenge cup, but again they lost as Houston knocked them off 1-0.
Now for a third-straight, the Chicago Red Stars will look to win their first NWSL Championship on Saturday as they face the Washington Spirit in Louisville. They’ve gotten there by knocking off NJ/NY Gotham FC then top-seeded Portland in the first two rounds and they now stand one win from a title.
It would be a crowning achievement for one of the charter members of the NWSL, who began play when the league did in 2013. They’ve made the playoffs in all six years they were staged and even did so in the Challenge Cup when a regular season wasn’t staged.
This season the club dealt with injuries to key players, including USWNT members Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher along with other players fulfilling national team duties. Yet the club persevered and thanks to a strong late season run grabbed the third seed in NWSL Playoffs.
Aided by a strong defense, the Red Stars overcame more issues in the semifinal after beating NJ/NY Gotham FC in the quarterfinal. MVP candidate Mallory Pugh and Kayla Sharples were out of the match against the Thorns due to COVID-19 protocols then Kealia Watt was injured in the first half.
Yet the club overcame it, and pulled off the 2-0 win in Portland to earn another shot at a title.
Larry Hawley has a preview of the match from WGN News Now in the video above.