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Audi Field to host NWSL championship game in prime time

For the past two seasons, the Washington Spirit has played more than half its home matches at Audi Field in Washington. The remainder of the home games take place in Leesburg. (Scott Taetsch for The Washington Post)

The National Women’s Soccer League announced Tuesday that Audi Field will stage the Oct. 29 championship game, marking the first time the District has hosted a women’s pro soccer final.

A six-team playoff, running Oct. 15-23, will determine the finalists. The Portland Thorns, San Diego Wave and Houston Dash are atop the 12-team standings, with the Kansas City Current, Seattle’s OL Reign and the Chicago Red Stars in postseason position.

Initially scheduled for noon on CBS, the final was moved to 8 p.m. Eastern so the league could showcase its marquee event in prime time on the national broadcast network.

“As we continue to advance the women’s sports landscape in the U.S. and around the world, this is a particularly significant moment for the league and an opportunity our players wholly deserve,” NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement of the prime-time TV slot.

USWNT roster features heavy D.C. presence for Audi Field friendly

CBS carried last year’s midday final in Louisville won by the Washington Spirit over the Red Stars, 2-1, in extra time.

Since launching in 2013, the NWSL has used a variety of venues for the final, including Portland, Ore., twice. Rochester, N.Y., in the league’s inaugural season, has been the only other Northeast venue.

Washington did not host the final over the course of two previous pro leagues: Women’s United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Women’s Professional Soccer (2009-11).

The last time a pro soccer final was held in Washington was 2007 at RFK Stadium for the MLS Cup between the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution.

Audi Field — the 20,000-capacity venue opened by D.C. United in 2018 — is one of two facilities used by the Spirit, which also plays home games at 5,000-seat Segra Field in Leesburg. For the first seven seasons, the club was based at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County.

The NWSL championship game is the second notable women’s soccer event to be awarded to Audi Field in recent weeks. On Sept. 6, the U.S. national team will appear at the stadium for the first time for a friendly against Nigeria.

Spirit and United season ticket holders will receive presale access to championship tickets. The public sale will begin Aug. 31.