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Chicago Red Stars Defeat Portland Thorns, Advance to 2021 NWSL Championship

Katie Johnson and Sarah Woldmoe each scored for Chicago, which advanced to its third consecutive championship final.
Chicago Red Stars

Photo: ChicagoRedStars/Twitter

Katie Johnson and Sarah Woldmoe each scored, and the Chicago Red Stars defeated the Portland Thorns 2-0 on Sunday to advance to the NWSL Championship.

Cassie Miller made seven saves for her second straight postseason clean sheet for the Red Stars, who will face the Washington Spirit in the NWSL Championship on Saturday, Nov. 20 in Louisville.

The Red Stars and Spirit will each being looking to win their first title. Chicago will play in a title game for a third straight year after falling 4-0 to the North Carolina Courage in 2019 and 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. Washington, which defeated the OL Reign 2-1 in the semifinals, is in the final for the first time since a 3-2 shootout loss to the Western New York Flash in 2016.

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Johnson substituted in for Kealia Watt, who left with a knee injury in the 28th minute, and made it 1-0 in the 37th minute when she tucked in a shot at the near post.

Woldmoe extended the lead to 2-0 in the 59th minute with a shot from outside the box.

The Red Stars and Thorns were each without star players. Chicago had MVP candidate Mallory Pugh and defender Kayla Sharples miss the game because they are each in COVID-19 protocol. Crystal Dunn, who recently announced her pregnancy, and Lindsey Horan (eye) did not play for Portland, the NWSL Shield winners.

The Red Stars will look to win their first title and become the second Chicago women's sports team to win a championship this year after the Sky captured the WNBA title in October.