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NWSL schedule: Outlining the playoff stakes for every match

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

The NWSL’s playoff push is coming down to the wire, with the NWSL Shield and two postseason spots still on the line heading into the final weekend of competition.

The Portland Thorns, OL Reign, Kansas City Current and San Diego Wave all have clinched playoff berths, while the Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, Chicago Red Stars and Angel City FC are in contention for the remaining two postseason slots.

The Thorns, OL Reign and Current, meanwhile, will be battling it out at the top of the standings for the NWSL Shield.

San Diego Wave FC vs. North Carolina Courage

10 p.m. ET Friday on Paramount+

The Courage hold their playoff fate in their own hands. A win against the Wave would be enough to send them to the postseason.

If the matchup between the Courage and the Wave ends in a draw, then North Carolina would need the Red Stars to lose or tie their game against Angel City FC in order to clinch a playoff berth.

For San Diego, which has already clinched a postseason spot, a No. 2 seed is on the line.

If the Wave win and OL Reign and Kansas City both lose or tie, then San Diego would secure a bye to the semifinals.

NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Portland Thorns

6 p.m. ET Saturday on Paramount+

The Thorns enter Saturday’s matchup against Gotham FC in first place, one point clear of OL Reign.

A win, which appears likely over Gotham, a team riding a 12-game losing streak and 488-minute scoring drought, would clinch the NWSL Shield for Portland

Should the Thorns lose or tie, the club would have to wait on the results of the Current’s and OL Reign’s matches to know their fate.

Portland, however, is guaranteed at least a top-three finish, with its league-leading goal differential of plus-25.

Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash

7 p.m. ET Saturday on Paramount+

The Dash can secure a playoff spot with a win or draw against the Washington Spirit. If the Dash lose, they could still squeak into the postseason if the Red Stars win but fail to make up their goal-differential discrepancy with Houston. Entering the weekend, Houston is plus-7, while Chicago is plus-4.

The Spirit, on the other hand, are out of playoff contention and may rest players set to join the U.S. women’s national team on its European swing next week.

Kansas City Current vs. Racing Louisville

7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on Twitch

Kansas City will look to pull off a worst-to-first jump, with the NWSL Shield in reach just one season after the club finished last in the league.

The Current have a difficult path, however, needing a win against 10th-place Racing Louisville as well as a Thorns loss and an OL Reign loss or draw.

At third in the NWSL standings, Kansas City will also be looking to maintain their ranking to lock up a home postseason opener. If the Current lose, the club could fall as far as fifth with a San Diego win or tie and a Houston win.

OL Reign vs. Orlando Pride

10 p.m. ET Saturday on Twitch

OL Reign has its sights set on the Shield but will need some help. The Seattle club would lock up the league title with a win coupled with a Thorns loss or draw.

Riding a five-game unbeaten streak, OL Reign’s chances against the Orlando Pride, who already have been eliminated from playoff contention, look promising.

No matter what happens through the final weekend of competition, OL Reign is guaranteed to finish in the top four.

Chicago Red Stars vs. Angel City FC

6 p.m. ET Sunday on Paramount+

Depending on how Friday and Saturday’s games go, both the Red Stars and Angel City may be eliminated from playoff contention ahead of their Sunday matchup.

ACFC will rely on a North Carolina loss to stay alive. If the Courage fall, Angel City can advance to the postseason with a win.

Should North Carolina lose or play to a draw with the Wave, the Red Stars can secure a playoff spot with a win. If Houston loses, the Red Stars also could advance with a win depending on goal differential.