Mallory Pugh sends Chicago Red Stars to NWSL semifinals


The Chicago Red Stars are through to the NWSL semifinals after defeating Gotham FC 1-0 on Sunday. Mallory Pugh provided Chicago with the game-winner, scoring her first career playoff goal in her postseason debut.

The quarterfinal game started off quietly, with Gotham keeping Chicago off the board despite some quality chances in the first half. The Red Stars kept knocking on the door until the 61st minute, when Pugh broke the scoreless tie.

Sarah Woldmoe picked off a Kailen Sheridan toss to McCall Zerboni and slid the ball into the box to an isolated Pugh, who one-timed a curling shot past the Gotham keeper for the go-ahead finish.

After the game, Pugh described the role fans played in the team’s sense of belief.

“Every time we’re home with all the fans, just the energy picks up,” the 23-year-old forward said in an interview with CBS.

Chicago’s victory marks the end of Gotham FC’s season and Carli Lloyd’s career as the 39-year-old officially enters retirement.

The Red Stars next travel to Providence Park to face the Portland Thorns in the NWSL semifinals on Nov. 14.