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NWSL playoff bracket: Thorns, Current advance to championship

The Portland Thorns are going for the NWSL Shield. (Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL playoffs kicked off on Oct. 16. The league’s top two teams earned byes, while the remaining four playoff teams faced off in the first round for the two other spots in the semifinals.

The postseason continues with the championship match on Oct. 29, as the Portland Thorns face the Kansas City Current at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

NWSL playoff seeds

1. OL Reign

OL Reign punched their ticket to the postseason with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dash on Sept. 24.

“I don’t think it was very pretty at times but to win on the road in this league, sometimes it is that way,” OL Reign coach Laura Harvey said after her team’s playoff-clinching win. “To get nine points on this three-game road trip just says a lot about this group of players and their mentality. They showed again tonight just how much they are willing to give to try to get somewhere this season.”

OL Reign capped off an impressive regular season, clinching the NWSL Shield following an emphatic 3-0 win over the Orlando Pride. The Seattle club’s No. 1 seed earns OL Reign a first-round bye and home-field advantage for their semifinal matchup.

2. Portland Thorns

With a 3-0 win over Racing Louisville on Sept. 21, the Portland Thorns became the first team to clinch a spot in the NWSL playoffs.

Portland fell to second in the standings following a 3-3 draw with Gotham FC in the club’s season finale, leaving the door open for OL Reign to claim the NWSL Shield. The Thorns, despite losing the Shield, salvaged a second-place finish to clinch a first-round bye and a home semifinal.

3. San Diego Wave FC

San Diego made history, becoming the first expansion club in NWSL history to clinch a playoff spot in its inaugural season with its 2-2 draw against Orlando.

“We’re in mixed emotions at the moment,” Wave coach Casey Stoney said following the draw. “I had to remind the team the point took us to the playoffs. We set such high standards and we want to maintain such high standards that, to come in here and perform like that and not get all three points is the disappointment. I’m sure when the dust has settled and we get back to San Diego and we reflect on what we’ve been able to do, I’m sure there’ll be a moment of pride.

“But I have to be extremely proud of how far we’ve come in a short space of time.”

4. Houston Dash

The Houston Dash clinched its first NWSL playoff berth in club history, locking up its postseason spot behind the San Diego Wave’s Sept. 30 scoreless draw with the North Carolina Courage.

“These players have left everything day in and day out, believing in the staff, in order to create unforgettable memories for our fans and make the city of Houston proud,” Houston Dash interim head coach Juan Carlos Amoros said in a Twitter post following the news.

The Dash have been dominant on the road all year, logging seven away victories to secure a gritty 10-6-6 regular-season record.

5. Kansas City Current

With a 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit on Sept. 25, the Kansas City Current clinched their spot in the NWSL playoffs.

It’s a huge turnaround for the club, which finished last in the NWSL standings a year ago and is now headed to the postseason for the first time in franchise history.

6. Chicago Red Stars

The Chicago Red Stars clinched the sixth and final playoff spot in the last matchup of the NWSL regular season.

Chicago downed Angel City FC 2-0 to move on point clear of the North Carolina Courage in the standings, to secure a postseason spot for the seventh straight year.

NWSL playoff schedule

Sunday, Oct. 16

Sunday, Oct. 23

Sunday, Oct 29 

  • NWSL Championship, 8 p.m. ET on CBS