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NWSL playoff teams look mighty familiar as USWNT silly season approaches

Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer

So much for the last-minute drama. The four teams are set for the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League playoffs, and they are a familiar bunch – the same four from last season.

Defending champions North Carolina Courage are the Shield winners for the third consecutive season. Include the franchise’s 2015 title as the Western New York Flash, before relocating, and it makes four straight postseason appearances for the group.

Portland Thorns FC, Shield winners in 2016 and champions in 2017, have qualified for the four-team postseason four straight times.

The Chicago Red Stars are in the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and are still looking for their first semifinal victory. They will host a playoff game for the first time since 2015, as this year’s No. 2 seed.

Reign FC are back in the playoffs for the second straight year, and the only question remaining is whether they will visit North Carolina as the No. 4 seed or travel to the Red Stars as the No. 3 seed. Sunday’s 2-0 victory over a disjointed Thorns side kept the hope of the No. 3 seed alive for the final day of the regular season, on Oct. 12.

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