By defeating the Chicago Red Stars 3-2 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington, on Sunday afternoon, the OL Reign clinched a spot in the NWSL playoffs with three matches remaining in the regular season.
The Portland Thorns still lead the Shield race with 39 points, but the Reign is just one point back and six points clear of third-place Houston (the top two finishers receive byes to the playoff semifinals).
The Reign reached the postseason in fine style. After Mallory Pugh had given Chicago a 14th-minute lead, the Reign responded through Jess Fishlock in the 31st.
What. A. Strike.
Jess "Bangers Only" Fishlock.#RGNvCHI | https://t.co/0LtSAUK1Jw | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/qG2FpNOkKS— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 10, 2021
Fishlock made it 2-1 with a close-range header four minutes later, and then Rose Lavelle gave the Reign a 3-1 lead in the 51st with another howitzer from distance.
The lethal left of @roselavelle #RGNvCHI | https://t.co/0LtSAUK1Jw | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/KrDiwIZyOx
It’s rare you see two screamers in one match, but how about three? Tatumn Milazzo pulled one back for Chicago in the 69th by arrowing a first-time finish into the far corner from 22 yards out.
What a way to mark your first NWSL goal, @tatumnmilazzo #RGNvCHI | https://t.co/0LtSAUK1Jw | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/mJex9Y88OF
It’s a tough defeat for the Red Stars as they’re just beneath the playoff line with three games to play.
THIS PLAYOFF RACE pic.twitter.com/EX6BQDhWUL