Last weekend in New Jersey, a 90-minute equalizer from Sky Blue’s Samantha Kerr robbed Chicago of two extra points in the standings, despite long periods of dominating play from the Red Stars. Although undefeated in their last three matches, Chicago will look to lock up a win before the international break. Chicago are currently sitting at second place in the NWSL standings, so the homecoming comes at an ideal time.
Where We Last Saw Them
There history between the Red Stars and the Pride runs all of three matches— and three wins for Chicago. Their last meeting was decided on a penalty kick drawn by Casey Short, which Christen Press converted. Orlando had late game offensive opportunities, including a 90 minute stoppage time corner kick. The set piece was nearly headed in by Orlando’s goal keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, but cleared away by Danielle Colaprico. The defensive effort locked up Chicago’s 3 points.
Starting lineup we’d like to see
In honor of Sofia Huerta’s national team training invite, we’d like to continue seeing her up top with the Captain, Christen Press. In honor of Julie Ertz being called up to national team duty as a defender, we’d like to keep seeing her in the center of the park as a midfielder.
Keys to the match
Sweet home Chicago
As is also the case with their BroSo co-tenants, Toyota Park has become a fortress for the Red Stars, where they remain undefeated at home. Chicago will want to use their familiar surroundings to their advantage and establish their hold on the game early. They’ll be squaring off against an Orlando Pride team who started their game with a goal seven minutes into a 4-1 rout of FC Kansas City; needless to say, getting off to a good start will be crucial.
While Alex Morgan has returned from injury, let’s not forget who the MVP was for the first half of Orlando’s season. She is currently third in the NWSL for total goals with 8 on the season to date. When Marta isn’t scoring, she is looking for the ball, trying to create for her teammates. Ertz and Co. will want to set the tone in the midfield early.
Players to watch
When Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo have strong games, the Red Stars look unstoppable. Whether it’s DiBernardo being involved in the run of play, or Colaprico disrupting the opposition, dominating the mid has been essential to winning games. Whether the score lines have been 3-1, 2-1, or 1-0, a unified mid has led to results.
How to watch
Kickoff: Saturday, July 22, 2:50 pm CDT, Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL)
Will the Red Stars remain undefeated at Toyota Park? Will the Red Stars score more than one goal in this match? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!