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NWSL semifinals: how to watch

Time, TV and streaming, and game notes

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Chicago Red Stars v Seattle Reign Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It’s playoff time! No gilding the lily, here’s how to watch both NWSL semifinal games:

Sunday, October 20:

North Carolina Courage hosting Reign FC

Time: 1:30 PM ET / 10:30 AM PT
Location: WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
Streaming: You can watch ESPN2 with Sling, Youtube TV, or Hulu live
Commentating: Glenn Davis, Angela Hucles and reporter Dalen Cuff

NC Courage

Season record (W-L-T): 15-5-4
GF / GA: 54 / 23
Last 5 games: W W W L W
Players to watch: Nearly all of them, but this time we’ll focus on goalscorers, particularly Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald, and Kristen Hamilton. A lot of this game will probably take place down in the Reign’s defensive half of the field (sorry Reign) and the Courage will make a dynamic front two of Williams and either McDonald or Hamilton, piercing the Reign back line with their runs behind.

Reign FC

Season record (W-L-T): 10-6-8
GF / GA: 27 / 27
Last 5 games: D L W W D
Players to watch: Bethany Balcer on the offensive end and Beverly Yanez on the defensive end. Balcer has turned into one of the best stories of the year, becoming a scoring threat for the Reign. Yanez will be hugely important in trying to break up the Courage midfield and cut off their forwards, perhaps forcing the Courage to dump a lot of long balls from Abby Dahklemper, but it’s a tall order against Sam Mewis and Crystal Dunn.

Chicago Red Stars hosting Portland Thorns

Time: 3:30 PM ET / 12:30 PM PT
Location: SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL
Streaming: You can watch ESPN2 with Sling, Youtube TV, or Hulu live
Commentating: Jenn Hildreth, Aly Wagner and reporter Marisa Pilla

Chicago Red Stars

Season record (W-L-T): 14-8-2
GF / GA: 41 / 28
Last 5 games: W W W W W
Players to watch: What starts with S and rhymes with Shmam Shmerr? Sam Kerr is the queen on the chess board for Chicago, but don’t overlook Casey Short as both lockdown defender and extra player in the attack. For funsies, keep an eye on Savannah McCaskill for her ball skills, acceleration, and occasional long-range shots.

Portland Thorns

Season record (W-L-T): 11-6-7
GF / GA: 40 / 31
Last 5 games: L L W L D
Players to watch: Emily Menges is called upon once again to guard Sam Kerr, which is probably the physical and mental equivalent of performing open heart surgery but the person’s heart is connected to a bomb that will go off if you make one wrong move and also you’re on a bus that cannot go slower than 50 mph. Have fun, Menges! On the other end, the team will certainly be looking to Christine Sinclair to provide both goals and leadership. She just needs one good touch to land the ball in the net, but we’ll see if Horan and co. can provide that for her.