all scores

NWSL 2021 playoff bracket is set: Gotham, Courage earn final spots

(Craig Mitchelldyer / ISI Photos / Getty Images)

The NWSL playoffs are set, with two quarterfinal matchups opening postseason play next weekend.

The Portland Thorns and OL Reign locked up their spots early, earning quarterfinal byes and the opportunity to host semifinal games. The Washington Spirit, who went unbeaten in their last six games, earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.

For the last three teams in the playoff bracket, the final weekend of the regular season determined their outcomes.

The Chicago Red Stars clinched their spot and home-field advantage with a 1-0 win over the Orlando Pride on Friday night. Chicago is now the first team in NWSL history to make the postseason six years in a row. Earning the final two playoff spots were the North Carolina Courage and Gotham FC, advancing to the postseason for the first time since 2013 as Sky Blue FC.

After Gotham’s 1-1 tie with Racing Louisville on Thursday night delayed their playoff pursuit, a draw between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns on Saturday sent Gotham to the playoffs. It also extended the Courage’s postseason hopes, as they only needed a Houston Dash loss to advance. That scenario came true Sunday, with the Spirit defeating the Dash 1-0 to secure hosting duties in the quarterfinals.

NWSL playoff schedule (all times ET)

The quarterfinals will be played on Sunday, Nov. 7:

  • No. 4 Chicago Red Stars vs. No. 5 Gotham FC, 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
  • No. 3 Washington Spirit vs. No. 6 North Carolina Courage, 5:30 p.m. on Paramount+

The semifinals will kick off on Sunday, Nov. 14 on CBS Sports Network:

  • No. 2 OL Reign vs. TBD, 3 p.m.
  • No. 1 Portland Thorns vs. TBD, 5:30 p.m.

The NWSL Championship will take place on Nov. 20 at 12 p.m. in Louisville and airing on CBS.

All matches will be available to stream internationally on the NWSL’s Twitch channel.