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NWSL results, highlights: Chicago Red Stars, Washington Spirit meet after semi-final wins for the 2021 title

The NWSL final in 2021 is certain: The Chicago Red Stars will face the Washington Spirit for the title this weekend after the two teams won the semi-finals on Sunday. The Spirit won against OL Reign in Tacoma, while the Red Stars went to Portland and eliminated the Thorns. The Red Stars and Spirit will meet for the 2021 crown in Louisville on Saturday, with both teams looking for their first NWSL championship.

The Spirit cracked their ticket to Saturday’s final in Louisville with a 2-1 comeback win on the road. OL Reign took a 1-0 lead in the third minute when Megan Rapinoe scored Eugenie Le Sommer for an early goal. But Washington fought back as rookie Trinity Rodman tied the game in the first half before Ashley Sanchez scored the game winner in the 68th minute.

The Red Stars won 2-0 against the Thorns, displacing the top seeded Portland. Chicago scored goals on both sides at halftime, with Katie Johnson scoring the goal and Sarah Woldmoe adding an insurance goal in the 59th minute.

NWSL semi-final results

  • FINAL: OL Reign 1, Washington Spirit 2
  • FINAL: Portland Thorns 0, Chicago Red Stars 2

Spirit ends Reign’s season

The two teams started quickly and scored both goals in the first 15 minutes. OL Reign set an NWSL playoff record for fastest goal. Megan Rapinoe supported Eugenie Le Sommer at the start. Just look:

The spirit wasn’t down for long, however, when Trinity Rodman set a record of her own for the youngest player to score in the NWSL playoffs and equalized in the 12th minute.

Despite the Reign’s quick start, the team struggled with the Spirit’s back pressing and eventually seemed frustrated out of their schedule as the game progressed and the finishing was missing.

There were no initial substitutions for either team at the start of the second half, but when the game was over the hour an offensive substitution from Reign head coach Laura Harvey, who brought in Bethany Balcer for more offensive looks, was unsuccessful.

Immediately after being substituted on, the Spirit earned a corner kick. The set piece was played briefly when the ball fell on Ashley Sanchez in open space. After a quick adjustment to the ball, the second year striker hammered the ball near the end line and the shot slid into the net to the game-winning goal.

The victory for Washington Spirit means the team will return to the NWSL Championship final for the first time since 2016.

CBS Sports provided live updates throughout the day. Relive the action below.

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