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NWSL final: USWNT players and future call-ups featured in Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars title game

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The Washington Spirit will face the Chicago Red Stars for the NWSL championship on CBS this Saturday. While this may not be the championship matchup that was expected, both teams turned their hot end to the season and stout defenses into an appearance in the final in Louisville, Kentucky. Neither team has won an NWSL title before, so no matter what happens, we’re guaranteed to see a first-time champion crowned.

On the field, there will also be a host of United States women’s national soccer team players and we’re here to help you out with who to look for while you’re tuning in watching the biggest NWSL game of the season on CBS.

Washington Spirit

Kelly O’Hara, left back (148 caps): One of the most decorated players on the national team, O’Hara has been a stalwart in defense for both club and country. Always in the right place at the right time, O’Hara has made some impressive blocks this postseason to keep the Spirit in games despite them having a worse expected goals then their opposition.

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Want more coverage of the Spirit? Listen below and make sure to follow Attacking Third, A CBS Soccer Podcast devoted to bringing you everything you need to know from the NWSL and around the globe.

Emily Sonnett, right back (61 caps): Another stay-at-home defender, Sonnett has been in and out of the national team rotation since 2016 but she has become a mainstay as of late. Involved in the 2019 World Cup title team, Sonnett has picked up steam since then, registering five assists for the national team.

Andi Sullivan, defensive midfielder (20 caps): Sullivan’s two-way ability has been integral in the Spirit getting to where they are right now. Just as capable going in for a tackle as she is setting up a goal, Sullivan has been involved in five goals this season. She has been in and out of the national team due to her knee injury in 2017, but post-recovery, she has been stronger than ever.

Just missed: Ashley Hatch isn’t far from getting another look in for the national team after winning the golden boot with 11 goals. Trinity Rodman has also been involved in the youth setup but has yet to make her senior debut. That said, after a season that saw her grab six assists in limited playing time, she too will likely be in Vlatko Andonovski’s future plans. Ashley Sanchez is also on the radar after helping make the counter tick for the Spirit. While they may have been a team led by defense, there are also some solid attackers in the mix.

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Chicago Red Stars

Julie Ertz, midfielder (116 caps): There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what Ertz does on a soccer field. Everywhere she goes, the team gets better and wins. While her counting stats don’t jump off of the page, when you look at Ertz play, you can see her leadership and ability shine through as she orchestrates the team.

Want more coverage of the Red Stars? Listen below and make sure to follow Attacking Third, A CBS Soccer Podcast devoted to bringing you everything you need to know from the NWSL and around the globe.

Mallory Pugh, forward (67 caps): Pugh just cleared the COVID protocol and could fill what was expected to be a huge void for the Red Starts in the final. Pugh was in the conversation for league MVP for the Red Stars coming off of a five-goal, four-assist campaign. One of the brightest young stars in the league and for the national team, she’s irreplaceable to this Chicago side.

Alyssa Naeher, goalkeeper (78 caps): Only conceding 13 goals in league play, Naeher has quite the pair of safe hands in this match featuring two extremely strong keepers. Keeper has been a position in flux for the national team, but Naeher is very much in the mix for the overall No. 1 shirt.

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Casey Krueger, right back (37 caps): Essentially in a direct competition with Sonnett, this is a game that could have extra incentive for Krueger to shine. She has won almost half of the tackles that she has gone in for while providing safe progression up the flank. 





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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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