Sam Kerr's Record-Breaking Performance Lifts Chicago to Fifth Consecutive Playoff Berth
CHICAGO - Sam Kerr's two goals and one assist were key in Chicago's 3-1 defeat of the Washington Spirit. The victory clinched a fifth consecutive playoff appearance for the franchise.
Kerr has 18 goals on the year, breaking the single-season record for most goals in an NWSL season she set back in 2017. She also assisted Yuki Nagasato for Chicago's second goal of the night, tying the record for all-time NWSL career assists.
Nagasato returned the favor and set up Kerr for the Aussie's second goal. Nagasato extends her lead at the top of this season's assist charts with her eighth of 2019.
The Red Stars remain second in the league standings with 41 points with one final game in the regular season before the NWSL Semifinals.
9' Chicago strikes early. Katie Johnson dishes the ball to a charging Kerr. She makes a great first touch on the ball and followed it up with a better chip that rainbowed over Audrey Bledsoe and into the back of the net for the opening goal.
24' Johnson dishes a fine backheel pass to Kerr who left Bledsoe stranded. Instead of taking the shot, she passed the ball to Nagasato with a wide-open goal in front of her. She buried the goal and doubled Chicago's lead.
31' A foul in the box gave Washington a penalty kick. Chloe Logarzo stepped up for the Spirit, but Alyssa Naeher guessed correctly and made a great jump to block the penalty kick.
50' Nagasato returns the favor and sets up Kerr with a sublime pass that curls around the defenders onto Kerr's feet. The Aussie diverts the defense onto one side before firing the ball the opposite way and into the back of the net for her second of the night and Chicago's third.
77' Washington's Ashley Hatch creates enough space to fire a long-distance strike, but Naeher is once again up to the task. She jumps to get her fingertips onto the ball and lifts it over the crossbar to make the save.
Sam Kerr has made the NWSL record book her personal list of accomplishments. With 18 goals on the year, she shatters the previous single-season record she set back in 2017 and with 24 career assists, she is now tied at the top of the all-time league chart.
Nagasato continues her banner year with Chicago. Her eight goals this season are a personal best in the NWSL and thanks to her assist tonight, she has also reached an NWSL career-best in assist tonight with eight in 2019.
The international connection strikes again. Kerr and Nagasato have combined for 15 goals since joining forces in Chicago last season, the most of any duo during that time span.
Chicago officially clinches a spot in the NWSL semifinal, becoming the only franchise in NWSL history to reach the postseason five straight seasons.
Katie Johnson had her third assist of the season. All of her assists have set up Kerr's goals.
Naeher matched her season-high total with six saves. Since returning to the NWSL after winning the World Cup, Naeher has had three games where she has made six saves.
Chicago concludes the regular season at home against the Utah Royals on Saturday, September 28th. Kickoff from SeatGeek Stadium is scheduled for 7pm CT.
Chicago Red Stars vs Washington Spirit
September 21, 2019
SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, IL)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Chicago Red Stars 2 1 3
Washington Spirit 0 1 1
CHI: Sam Kerr (Katie Johnson) 9'
CHI: Yuki Nagasato (Sam Kerr) 23'
CHI: Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato) 49'
WAS: Mallory Pugh (Sam Staab) 80'
WAS: Paige Nielsen (Yellow Card) 53'
WAS: Sam Staab (Yellow Card) 62'
WAS: Meggie Dougherty-Howard (Yellow Card) 65'
CHI: GK Naeher, D Short, D Davidson, D Ertz ©, D Gorden, M Colaprico, M Brian, M Johnson (Elby 86'), F Nagasato (Goralski 81'), F McCaskill (Stanton 72'), F Kerr
WAS: GK Bledsoe, D Huster, D Nielsen, D Staab, D Farquharson, M Logarzo (Thomas 66'), M Sullivan ©, M Lavelle, (Daughtery-Howard 45'), F Pugh, F Hatch, F Matthews (Ship 76')
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.
• Discuss this story on the National Women's Soccer League message board...
National Women's Soccer League Stories from September 22, 2019
- Thorns FC Register 1-0 Win over Houston Dash at Providence Park - Portland Thorns FC
- Reign FC Shutout by Sky Blue FC in Loss - OL Reign
- Lloyd's Goal Lifts Sky Blue FC over Reign FC - Sky Blue FC
- Dash Fall 1-0 at Portland Thorns - Houston Dash
- Utah Royals FC Falls 3-0 to North Carolina Courage - Utah Royals FC
- Sam Kerr's Record-Breaking Performance Lifts Chicago to Fifth Consecutive Playoff Berth - Chicago Red Stars
- NC Courage Clinch Third-Consecutive NWSL Shield with 3-0 Win over Utah Royals FC - North Carolina Courage
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.