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Kealia Watt strike sends Chicago Red Stars to the playoffs


The Chicago Red Stars are heading to the playoffs after downing the Orlando Pride 1-0 on Friday night.

With a postseason spot on the line, the Red Stars played with a sense of urgency from the opening whistle, letting off 10 shots in the first half alone.

Chicago’s first goal, however, wouldn’t come until the 65th minute. Kealia Watt, beating her defender, cut inside before striking a stunner beyond an outstretched Erin McLeod to make it 1-0.

Friday’s win marks the Red Stars’ third consecutive victory to end the regular season. The match was also a record-breaker for defender Sarah Gorden, who became Chicago’s first Iron Woman, playing every minute of the 2021 season.

Clinching a playoff spot and home-field advantage, the Red Stars are now the first NWSL club to make the playoffs six years in a row. Chicago’s quarterfinal match will take place on Nov. 9 at SeatGeek Stadium.