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Chicago Red Stars 3, Washington Spirit 1: What We Learned

The Red Stars clinch their playoff spot and play some impressive soccer as the regular season draws to a close

Shaina Benhiyoun Photography

The Chicago Red Stars extended their winning streak to four last Saturday. After a series of three matches over eight days, the Red Stars returned to Bridgeview to take on a Washington Spirit team in the hunt for the playoffs.

On a rainy night, the Red Stars took the pitch and showed the league those same flashes of special brilliance that they’re capable of. A brace from Sam Kerr, and a goal from Yuki Nagasato, helped the Red Stars notch their fourth win in a row and seal a playoff clinch.

Here’s some things we learned from the match.

Sam Kerr Scores Goals and Sets Records

With Kerr’s two goals on the evening she broke the NWSL previous record of most goals (17) scored in a season. The Australian international now has 18 goals on the season and is in a position to claim the league’s golden boot for a third straight year.

“It’s not easy and these girls make it a lot easier than it should be,” Kerr said in post game comments. “It was an amazing moment for me and something I’ll remember forever. It was nice to do it in front of the Chicago crowd.”

“It was her record anyway, right?” Red Stars head coach Rory Dames joked. “Sam is special. It’s not a secret to anybody. I’m happy for her. She was excited so we’re excited for her, but Sam has bigger fish to fry this year than how many goals she scores.”

The Red Stars win on Saturday night put them in a position to clinch a playoff spot for a fifth consecutive year. However they would have to wait on the results of other nwsl games taking place that evening. At the conclusion of the other matches, the Red Stars found themselves playoff bound once again.

The International Connection is Worldwide

Chicago carried their momentum into this match and set the tone early with a goal in the ninth minute of the game. The Red Stars second goal, which came off a throw-in, gave us a bit of vintage early season link up play between Katie Johnson, Kerr, and Nagasato. A brilliant back heel pass from Johnson through a crowd of defenders to Kerr - whose presence in the box lured goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe out - but instead of shooting found a patient Nagasato far post who scored the highlight worthy goal. It was a truly world wide goal as that came to life through several of the teams’ international players.

Positioning Still In Play

With a game remaining in their regular season the Red Stars are still vying for the chance to host a playoff game, something they haven’t done since 2015. Although they currently sit in second place, the Portland Thorns sit behind them in third place with two games remaining on their schedule. A win against Utah Royals next week can only benefit them in their quest to host.

Chicago Red Stars will play their final regular season match this Saturday, September 28, at SeatGeek Stadium. An evening kickoff at 7 p.m. CT with a fan appreciation promotional night.