The Chicago Red Stars head into Orlando this Saturday to face the Pride in their second game of their road trip. It will be their third game in 7 days. The Red Stars are coming off an unfortunate loss against Seattle where they were beat on two penalty kicks. Chicago will look to bounce back against an Orlando Pride team who coming off an impressive win of their own against Sky Blue FC.
Chicago faced Orlando twice last season and swept the two-game series. While much the Red Stars roster features the usual suspects of last season, Orlando has some new faces on their squad. Including Ali Krieger and former FIFA world player of the year, Marta. The Pride are currently sixth in NWSL standings, and will look to use home field advantage in trying to get their first ever win against the Red Stars.
Where we last saw them
Chicago last faced the Pride in Orlando last July. Both teams were missing impact players off on Olympic international duty. It was a match that eventually held playoff seeding implications for the Pride, but the game ended in a victory for Chicago. The lone goal came off a header from Taylor Comeau via an excellent ball in from Sofia Huerta.
Starting lineup we’d like to see
While we’d like to see some adjustments made for short rest, we imagine the starting lineup will look like much of what we’ve been seeing this season. Solid backline, with a pivoting mid, featuring an always-lethal Christen Press up top. But multiple games on short rest could precipitate appearances from other players like Jen Hoy, Stephanie McCaffrey, and rookie Lauren Kaskie. All were given time in the Seattle game.
Keys to the Match
There’s no question about it, Marta is doing all the things the Pride had hoped for. Creating plays, setting up goals, and scoring them too. Julie Ertz and company will have their hands full in trying to counter what Marta brings to game days.
Press the backline
It’s no secret that Orlando has had some struggle this season defensively. The team will be without their captain and star goal keeper Ashlyn Harris, who is out a quad injury. Ali Krieger has been moved into the center back role to try and help stop the bleeding. Chicago will want to try and connect as early and often as possible.
No rest for the wicked
While mid-week games take a toll on most teams this season, Chicago is dealing with theirs at the halfway point of the season. It will bode well for the Red Stars to come away with a result against an Orlando team currently on the outside of the top four standings looking in. Three points before facing a struggling Boston Breakers team would be ideal.
How To Watch
Kickoff: Saturday, July 1st, Orlando City Stadium, 5:00pm EDT / 4:00pm CDT
Do you think the Red Stars will come into Orlando red hot after their seven-game streak snapped? Who do you think will score in this match? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!