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updated: 7/26/2013 11:00 AM

Red Stars' playoff hopes dimming

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By Daily Herald News Services

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Seattle Reign struck early and often Thursday night against the Chicago Red Stars, earning a 4-1 victory of a Chicago club that faces a challenging uphill battle to keep its NWSL playoff hopes alive.

Seattle Reign took advantage of a foul in the sixth minute when Red Stars midfielder Adriana Leon clipped Jessica Fishlock from behind, setting up midfielder Megan Rapinoe with a freekick from 20 yards out. She drove a low, hard ball past defenders to the left side of Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod to put the Reign on top 1-0 early.

In the 21st minute, Leon blocked another Reign shot but a handball resulted in a yellow card and a penalty kick for the Reign that converted by Kaylyn Kyle for a 2-0.

Despite a good second-half start by the Red Stars, Rapinoe struck again when she got loose in front of goal in the 68th minute. The Red Stars earned a penalty kick in the 73rd minute but Hope Solo blocked Inka Grings' PK attempt. A minute later, Chicago got on the board when Lori Chalupny found Jen Hoy with a counter attack in the 74th minutes.

Seattle's Liz Bogus finished the scoring on the night with a breakaway, earning a 1-on-1 with McLeod. She slotted the ball to the corner and sealed the Seattle 4-1 win in the 82nd minute.

The Red Stars will round head to Portland to meet Thorns FC at 6 p.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer channel) as the National Women's Soccer League game of the week.

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