Westfield Matildas striker Sam Kerr netted her 16th goal of the NWSL campaign but it wasn’t enough to send Chicago Red Stars into the playoffs with a win.
Elsewhere, Kyah Simon's Houston Dash felt the full force of North Carolina Courage and there was a shock loss for a couple of Aussies in New Jersey.
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It’s all in our wrap from the NWSL action in America on Sunday (AEST).
Utah Royals 2-1 Chicago Red Stars
A 16th goal of the season from Sam Kerr wasn’t enough to save the Red Stars from slumping to a 2-1 loss in Utah against the Royals.
While Chicago’s finals place was already assured, they were hoping to finish the regular season in style but were undone by a second-half fightback from the hosts to snap their seven-game unbeaten run.
But Kerr was again the star for the Red Stars, giving her side the lead to pull further ahead at the top of the scoring charts.
The Westfield Matildas star got on the end of Arin Gilliland’s cross to head in from close range to put Chicago 1-0 up at the break.
Kerr, who had six shots and three key passes for the match, finishes the regular season with 16 goals, one short of her record-setting haul of 17 last season.
She also wrapped up the prestigious Golden Boot for the NWSL for the second successive year, the first player to achieve that feat in the competition's history.
Second-half goals from Amy Rodriguez and Katie Stengel saw Utah come away with the victory to end their inaugural season in the NWSL in fifth spot.
Westfield Matildas playmaker Katrina Gorry was an unused substitute for the Royals.
Chicago takes on Premiers North Carolina Courage in the Semi-Finals next weekend for a spot in the NWSL decider.
Sky Blue FC 1-0 Orlando Pride
Westfield Matildas pair Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond ended their season in disappointing fashion after a shock 1-0 loss against lowly Sky Blue FC.
The home side hadn’t won a match all season but broke through for their first victory thanks to USA star Carli Lloyd’s 74th-minute strike.
Kennedy played a full match for the Pride in the heart of midfield, while van Egmond started on the bench and entered the fray for the last seven minutes.
Orlando, who looked like making the playoffs just a few weeks ago, end the 2018 season in seventh spot and having lost their last four matches of the campaign.
North Carolina Courage 5-0 Houston Dash
It was a sobering end to the season for Kyah Simon and Clare Polkinghorne’s Dash, beaten convincingly by the NWSL title favourites.
The Courage scored three times in the first half before going on with the job after the break to end the regular season by breaking a host of NWL records.
They had the most wins (17), most points (57),fewest losses (one), most goals scored (53), least goals conceded (1) and the best goal difference (+36) in a truly remarkable campaign.
Simon only came off the bench for the last three minutes for Houston, while Polkinghorne wasn’t in the squad.
FINAL NWSL LADDER
*Teams in bold contain Westfield Matildas players
- North Carolina Courage – played 24, 57 points, +36
- Portland Thorns – played 24, 42 points, +12
- Seattle Reign – played 24, 41 points, +8
- Chicago Red Stars – played 24, 37 points, +10
- Utah Royals – played 24, 35 points, -1
- Houston Dash – played 24, 32 points, -4
- Orlando Pride – played 24, 30 points, -7
- Washington Spirit – played 24, 11 points, -23
- Sky Blue FC – played 24, 9 points, -31