The Chicago Red Stars were, oh, so close.
The team fell just short of capturing the NWSL title, falling 2-1 to the Washington Spirit in overtime Nov. 20 at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the Spirit's first championship.
A goal from Rachel Hill put the Red Stars up 1-0 at halftime. Following the half, Andy Sullivan's penalty shot tied the game and in the first half of extra time, Kelley O'Hara headed the ball into the back of the net to put Washington ahead.
"I am proud of these players, the coaching staff and our medical staff for making it to a championship game for the third-straight year, a record not seen by any other Chicago sports franchise in recent years," said Chairman and Principal Owner Arnim Whisler in a statement. "We are grateful for the fans who supported us throughout the season, and we cannot wait to be in front of them again in 2022."
The Red Stars later tweeted, "This season has been a wild ride, but two things have remained constant: Our love for this city & our love for you. … Don't be sad because it's over, be ready for what's next."
The Red Stars' defeat came after a promising start to the playoffs. Following a win in the last game of the season in Orlando, thanks to a goal from Kealia Watt, the Red Stars had to take down Gotham FC and the Portland Thorns. Goals from Mallory Pugh, Katie Johnson and Sarah Woldmoe, pushed the Red Stars past their two opponents and punched their ticket to the finals.