NWSL: Reign FC claims final playoff spot

Reign FC clinched the fourth and final berth in the NWSL playoffs when it defeated the archrival Portland Thorns, 2-0, at Cheney Stadium.

Like in the key midweek win over Utah, the Reign goals were scored by English World Cup forward Jodie Taylor and rookie Bethany Balcer.

Theresa Nielsen delivered a cross from the right wing for Taylor on the opening goal in the 27th minute. In the 81st minute, Nielsen found Balcer with a pass inside the box on the right side for Balcer's team-high sixth goal of the season.

The Thorns' loss assured Chicago, a 2-1 winner over Utah on Saturday in its final game of the regular season, of finishing second and hosting one of the two semifinal matches in the playoffs.

As it stands now, the semifinal pairings will be North Carolina-Reign FC and Chicago-Portland. The final round of matches will be played on Oct. 19 following the international break.

NWSL Standings:
1. *NC Courage, 46 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 Sky Blue FC.

2.
*Chicago
, 44 points (24)

3. *Portland, 39 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 Washington.

4.
Reign FC
, 37 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 at Orlando.

5. Utah, 31 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 Houston.

6.
Washington
, 30 points (22)
Schedule: Oct. 5 at Orlando, Oct. 12 at Portland.

7.
Houston
, 26 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 at Utah.

8.
Sky Blue FC
, 20 points (23)
Schedule: Oct. 12 at NC Courage.

9.
Orlando
, 15 points (22)
Schedule: Oct. 5 Washington, Oct. 12 Reign FC.
Note: In parentheses are games played.
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