The reigning champion North Carolina Courage will again play in the National Women’s Soccer League final, this time facing the Chicago Red Stars.
The regular season’s top two teams will meet after semifinal wins Sunday. The Courage beat Reign FC and the Red Stars defeated the Portland Thorns. The final will be North Carolina’s third in a row. The Red Stars will play in the final for the first time after four consecutive semifinal losses.
Here are events and updates leading to Sunday’s championship match:
2019 NWSL Championship
North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars
When: Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed soccer park, Cary, N.C.
How to watch: ESPN
Tickets: Available at Ticketmaster for between $20 and $345 each.
How they got there: Though the Reign stifled North Carolina (15-5-4 in the regular season) enough to take the semifinal to extra time, the Courage ultimately showed their attacking prowess and took a match that was 1-1 after 90 minutes to 4-1 by the end of extra time. The match will be a finale for Heather O’Reilly, who is set to retire.
The Red Stars (14-8-2) made the final with a more straightforward 1-0 win, building on the team’s best regular-season finish since 2015. The match may be the last in NWSL for star Sam Kerr, with reports suggesting a move to Europe.
Coaches conference call
Courage coach Paul Riley and the Red Stars’ Rory Dames will speak with reporters via conference call Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. Riley is making his fourth consecutive NWSL final appearance. He coached the Western New York Flash before an ownership change took the team to North Carolina. Dames will be coaching a team in the final for the first time.
Injury updates and more
Outside of players who have long term injuries, both teams have fairly healthy squads for the final. Red Stars midfielder Arin Wright missed the semifinal with an illness, though her availability for the final remains unclear.
The Courage are off Tuesday and then plan to train every day leading to the final.
No training or travel information is available yet for the Red Stars.