Mallory Pugh is among the NWSL leaders in goals and assists. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Mallory Pugh is among the NWSL leaders in goals and assists. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Road to final playoff spot tough for Red Stars

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

With five games left in the season, the Chicago Red Stars are hanging on to the NWSL’s sixth and final playoff spot.

The Red Stars (7-5-5, 26 points) can make a lot of headway if they get hot, but that is not going to be an easy task.

They visit OL Reign at 9 p.m. Friday, host Kansas City Wednesday at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, host Houston Sept. 17, visit Portland Sept. 25 and host Angel City Oct. 2 in the season finale.

The first four teams on that schedule are ahead of the Red Stars in the standings. The fifth, Angel City, is one point behind them and hoping to leapfrog them to get into the postseason.

“I mean, it smacks you in the face, so you can’t look the other way,” Red Stars coach Chris Petrucelli said of the standings and remaining schedule. “I think we all know where we stand.

“We made it a point from the beginning to continue to look in front of us and not look behind us. We’re not out of this thing. We could win the whole thing, we’re that close. So, I think we’re choosing to look forward instead of looking behind us.”

Red Stars player Danielle Colaprico is also looking ahead.

“I think at this point we control our own destiny,” she said. “If we want to be at the top of the table, we put our heads down, go to work and win some games. It’s not a bad position to be in. We’re in a great spot and we can go on and win this thing.”

 

Pugh heating up again

Mallory Pugh scored for the first time since June 18, as she had two goals and added two assists in a 4-0 victory at Louisville on Aug 27.

Pugh is tied for fourth in the league with eight goals. San Diego’s Alex Morgan is on top with 13 goals, followed by North Carolina’s Diana Ordonez and Portland’s Sophia Smith with 11 each.

Pugh is tied with two other players for the league lead in assists with five.

 

Fire hangs on for hope

The Chicago Fire will make its second appearance this season at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview when they host Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Fire lost to New York City, 2-0, at SeatGeek Stadium on Aug. 21.

The Fire played the New York game in Bridgeview because of the poor condition of the field at Soldier Field. They have two more MLS games and a friendly at SeatGeek this year.

After a 0-0 draw with Columbus on Sept. 3, the Fire found itself with an 8-13-8 mark and 32 points with five matches left to go. The Fire were outshot 25-6 in that game, including 9-1 in shots on goal.

The Fire need a big run to make it to the playoffs.

“We need to get points, especially at home, coming up,” Fire coach Erza Hendrickson said. “We have to get the full three points and then go on the road and pick up three points at [Cincinnati], Montreal – one of the teams.”

 

Crew 2 clinches with win over Fire II

Columbus clinched the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference title with a 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Fire II in Sept. 3.

After spotting Columbus a 3-0 lead, the Fire scored in the 80th minute on an Omari Glasgow score, assisted by Erik Kocs Washburn.

The Fire II (6-11-5) visits Cincinnati on Sunday.

 

Where they stand

The NWSL standings heading into this week:

Team                  W    L   T    PTs

San Diego           9     5   4    31

Houston              8     5   5    29

KC                         8    4    5   29

Portland              7    3    7   28

OL Reign              7    4    6   27

Chicago                7    5    5   26

Los Angeles         7    5    4    25

Orlando                5    6    6    21

N. Carolina             5   7    4    19

Louisville              2    7     8    14

Washington         1    6    10   13

NJ/NY                    4   13    0   12

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