After a highly competitive 24-game regular season slate concluded this past weekend, the field is set for the 2021 NWSL Playoffs. It took until the final match day of the regular season to finalize the field and seeding for the newly expanded six-team playoff.
The first round kicks off on Sunday, November 7 with the four-seed Chicago Red Stars hosting fifth-seeded NJ/NY Gotham FC (3 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network). Third-seeded Washington Spirit will host the sixth-seeded North Carolina Courage (5:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+) in the second match of the day, with the winners advancing to the November 14 semifinals where they will take on the top-seeded Portland Thorns (5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) and the two-seed OL Reign (3:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network), respectively. The championship match will take place on November 20 at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky and will be broadcast nationally on CBS at 12 p.m. ET.
Now let the games begin 😎— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 31, 2021
Playoff matchups and times are set 👀🗓
With Portland, OL and Washington having already punched their playoff tickets entering the final week of the regular season, Chicago became the fourth team to secure its spot in the postseason – and in the process, a first round home game – with a 1-0 road win over the Orlando Pride on Friday night. Having started for the USA just three days prior in the USWNT’s 6-0 win over Korea Republic, Tierna Davidson and Mallory Pugh played 90 minutes and 84 minutes, respectively, as the Red Stars won four of their last five games to close out the regular season. Alex Morgan went the full 90 minutes for Orlando, who finished the season in eighth place.
On Saturday, OL Reign secured second-place and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a 3-0 win over the newly named KC Current. Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe each dished out an assist for the Reign in the victory, while Alana Cook played the full 90 minutes on defense.
WATCH: Rapinoe Dishes Out Assist to Le Sommer
Adrianna Franch made four saves for the Kansas City-based club, which announced its new brand identity at halftime.
Later that night, Portland and North Carolina played to a scoreless draw at Providence Park, keeping the Courage’s playoff hopes alive as it earned what would be an all-important point. Lynn Williams put in 90 minutes for the Courage while Becky Sauerbrunn (90 minutes), Sophia Smith (89) and Lindsey Horan (84) all featured for the Thorns.
The most pivotal match of the weekend came on Sunday in a showdown between the Spirit and Houston Dash at Audi Field, with the Dash needing a point to jump North Carolina for the sixth and final playoff spot. However, the tightly contested affair saw the Spirit come away with the 1-0 victory courtesy of 76th minute goal from U.S. youth international Trinity Rodman. Andi Sullivan and Emily Sonnett each went the full 90 minutes while Kelley O’Hara played 89 in a strong defensive showing by the Spirit. Abby Dahlkemper, Kristie Mewis and Jane Campbell all played the full 90 minutes for Houston, who closed the season in seventh with an overall record of 9-10-5 (W-L-D).
The final match of the day saw Gotham and Racing Louisville play to a 1-1 draw for the second time in a four-day span. Carli Lloyd, five days removed from the 316th and final cap of her storied USWNT career, scored Gotham’s opening goal on Sunday, heading home a cross in the 53rd minute of her final professional match in her home state of New Jersey.
WATCH: Lloyd Scores in Last Match at Red Bull Arena
While the NWSL enters the playoffs, Catarina Macario continues her stellar start to the young season in France, scoring in the fifth minutes of Olympique Lyon’s 6-1 win over Soyaux on Sunday morning. Macario has now scored in four of her last five appearances for Lyon across all competitions and is tied for the team lead in scoring with five goals in league play.
WATCH: Macario Opens Scoring For Lyon
An exorcism was performed and the ghosts gave us the footage of this goal 👻— ata football (@atafball) October 31, 2021
A goal and an assist for @USWNT's @catarinamacario today, she was really haunting the Soyaux defence (how many halloween jokes in one tweet is too many, asking for a friend)https://t.co/GPfoIIxgtD pic.twitter.com/0zAQZsm0AE
Information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
Sunday, November 7
Arsenal vs. West Ham United
(4) Chicago Red Stars vs. (5) NJ/NY Gotham FC
CBS Sports Network
(3) Washington Spirit vs. (6) North Carolina Courage