Last week we saw the Red Stars in a bit of lackluster performance against a lower seeded, Mal Pugh-less Washington Spirit. But in typical Chicago fashion, the Red Stars managed to come away with a point thanks to a late game equalizer thanks to Captain Christen Press. The primetime magic came in the 80th minute via a penalty kick, keeping the Red Stars undefeated in Toyota Park.
This week marks the final game before the Red Stars embark on a four-game road trip that will have them go coast to coast. Week 10 will see Sky blue FC visit Toyota Park after an impressive win against Portland Thorns FC.
Where we last saw them
Both teams met last August after the Olympic break. It ended up being a game that help potential playoff seeding. A Sky Blue win would tie them with Chicago for a fourth place tie. Chicago had other plans and dominated the game, winning by a convincing 3-1 scoreline. The New Jersey squad eventually struggled down the stretch and missed the 2016 playoffs, with a 7th place standing.
Starting lineup we’d like to see
Coach Dames made some unpredictable substitutions after last week’s game, including seeing rookie Lauren Kaskie getting her first minutes of the season. We’re hoping this week will be better for the squad and would like to see these names out on the pitch.
Keys to the match
Test the line
Sky Blue FC have an impressive rookie goal keeper in Kailen Sheriden, however their defense currently ranks seventh in goals against, allowing 14. Chicago’s offense has several players on the score sheet this season. The Red Stars will want to try and capitalize on their home field advantage and set the tone offensively against the New Jersey backline.
Backline strong line
Australian international Samantha Kerr is coming off a big game against Portland, scoring an impressive brace. While both Kerr and Sarah Killion are connecting on net for Sky Blue, it will be up to Chicago’s backline to narrow New Jersey’s opportunities on goal. Disrupting the mid should allow the Red Stars to establish possession throughout the game.
Set the tone for the Journey
As we get closer to middle of the season, we will see less parity between some teams. Out of the current teams at the top of the table, Chicago and New Jersey are the two teams that have yet to play each other this season. While Sky Blue has yet to earn a win against Chicago, there are 6 draws between the two teams. A solid 3 points before a two week, 4-match, adventure for Chicago, could be the catalyst for a strong road trip.
How To Watch
Kickoff: Sunday June 25th, 5:00PM CDT
Who do you think will score for the Red Stars? Will it be a battle of goalkeepers in Naeher vs Sheridan? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!