Matildas star, Sam Kerr, impressed yet again as her ninth minute goal took Red Stars through to next weekend’s NWSL final against North Carolina Courage.
The 26-year-old, who captained Australia during this summer’s World Cup, earned her third consecutive Golden Boot award after scoring 18 goals in 21 matches this season. She’s the first player in NWSL history to receive the award three seasons in a row.
Despite ten successful years in the NWSL, Kerr is expected to leave the North American League at the end of the season for a European team, meaning that next weekends final could be a hugely momentous occasion for the forward.
Former Matildas captain Heather Garriock spoke to ABC about Kerr’s move from the NWSL. “I think it’s a great move for her,” the Canberra United coach said.
“I think she knows — and any football person knows — that she needs to prove herself in Europe,”
Kerr has netted a record-breaking 77 goals for Chicago Red Stars, however, her semi-final decider against Portland was her first in a play-off fixture.
The league’s other semi-final saw North Carolina Courage, this season’s NWSL Shield winners, beat Reign 4-1 in extra time.
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Courage took the lead in the 88th minute when Heather O’Reilly, who is due to retire at the end of this season, converted a penalty. Reign substitute, Ifeoma Onumonu, then equalised in stoppage time to send the fixture into extra time.
Brazilian international, Debinha, gave Courage the lead again with a goal in the 99th minute which was followed by a Reign own goal and another goal from Crystal Dunn.
This weekend saw Reign’s season come to an end, and the rumours that coach Vlatko Andonovski is the front-runner to coach the US national team are mounting. Jill Ellis bowed out from her position earlier this year, with Courage coach Paul Riley, and Utah Royals coach Laura Harvey already announcing that they’re not interested in the position.
The NWSL Championship final will take place on 27 October at Sahlen’s Stadium, WakeMed Soccer Park with kick-off at 7:30 pm GMT.