Red Stars get a critical win as they chase an NWSL playoff spot

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Chicago Red Stars forward Kealia Watt celebrates her goal in a 1-0 win over Orlando at SeatGeek Stadium on October 13th. (Courtesy: ISI Photos)

CHICAGO – One of the biggest points of pride for the franchise over the last half-decade has been their ability to find their way into the postseason.

Since the 2015 season, the Chicago Red Stars have qualified for the playoffs, doing so five consecutive times. They didn’t have the chance to do so during the 2020 season after it was reduced to a tournament in the summer then a brief fall league schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the chance to make it a sixth straight appearance is very much on the table for the club with two matches remaining in the season – and they helped themselves in a big way on Wednesday night at SeatGeek Stadium.

The club used a sixth minute goal from Kealia Watt to take the lead and their defense remained strong the rest of the way to preserve a 1-0 win over the Orlando Pride.

The match was made up from the originally scheduled October 2nd date, which was postponed after allegations against then North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley were outlined in a report from The Athletic. He was eventually fired and led to changes in the NWSL, including the resignation of league commissioner Lisa Baird.

Getting those three points is critical for the club as they continue to chase the last playoff spot in a tight race with the Washington Spirit, Houston Dash, Courage, and NJ/NY Gotham FC. Right now the Red Stars sit in fifth place with 32 points, with Houston above them with the same total and North Carolina occupying the last spot.

Washington is in third place with 33 points while NJ/NY has 29 points and is on the outside looking in at the postseason.

Now Rory Dames’ team needs to take care of business in their final two matches to lock up the playoff spot, starting with their final home match of the regular season against Kansas City on Saturday at 7 PM. Then the Red Stars finish the season on Friday, October 29th on the road against Orlando.

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