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Windy City Drizzle: Chicago Red Stars vs Seattle Reign, NWSL Week 18 Preview

The Red Stars will be looking to make up lost ground in the playoff chase while Seattle might get their opening

Photo via Chicago Red Stars

In a midweek match up, the Chicago Red Stars play host to the Seattle Reign in a game with huge playoff implications for both sides. Chicago and Seattle are coming off losses to top four teams, and while Chicago still remains in third place, Seattle is on the outside looking in sitting two points out of fifth place.

Last Saturday, the Red Stars suffered their first home loss of the season against the Portland Thorns. In similar fashion to matches prior, Chicago found themselves playing from behind in a match. They were down two goals in the first 10 minutes. But the gritty grinders from the windy city soon leveled the score thanks to Christen Press and Sofia Huerta, but Portland came out on top 3-2.

Chicago will have to bounce back on short rest against a struggling Seattle team coming off a home loss of their own against NC Courage. The Reign will also be without their team MVP Megan Rapinoe, who is undergoing Arthroscopic surgery. Can Chicago play playoff spoiler and regain position in the top two?

Where we last saw them

Chicago last faced Seattle back in June. In the first game of a 4-game road trip, the Red Stars found themselves up early against the Reign on a goal from Alyssa Mautz. However, a pair of penalty kicks sealed the victory for Seattle as Megan Rapinoe slotted both opportunities on goal. It was the first loss for Chicago in a 7-game unbeaten streak at the time.

Starting line up we’d like to see

During Saturday’s match against Portland, Danielle Colaprico suffered an injury and had to be subbed out. Thorns substitution Tyler Lussi had been subbed onto the pitch for less than a minute to make the negative impact. Upon replay, Lussi has pulled the midfielder’s hair and ended up stepping on Colaprico’s wrist as well. Colaprico will be getting additional x-rays to further ascertain the extent of injury. In the likely even that she is out for Wednesday’s match, we wouldn’t mind seeing Taylor Comeau back in the lineup.

Keys To The Match

If you could stop having slow starts, that’d be awesome?

Chicago is no stranger to playing long ball. A hail Mary of a service by anyone to Christen Press and praying she finds the back of the net has worked before, which is why we still see it from time to time. However, Chicago is a more than capable team on the ground. In fact, some of their best goals this season have happened that way.

Their midfield can disrupt opposition, and they can establish and retain possession. Often, when the team works through the middle third, they have found success. The problem has been getting that part of their game going early. With Jess Fishlock back for Seattle, Chicago will have to get into their game sooner rather than later.

Defend home. Defend Period.

Chicago arguably have the best defensive line in the league. They got clowned on Saturday. The first ten minutes of the match, weren’t pretty. There’s no questioning that. However, a strong home team had to take an L sooner or later, and in light of the final stretch of games, perhaps it’s better it happened now rather than later. The lackluster performance will allow the defense an opportunity to remind everyone why they “are who we though they were.”

Players to mark

While Jess Fishlock and Nahomi Kawasumi are names that have been impactful for the Reign, players like Beverly Yanez and Meritt Mathias tend to put in work behind the goals. Chicago will want to make sure these players don’t get the better of them on Wednesday.

How To Watch

Kickoff: Wednesday, August 16, 7:00pm CDT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL

Stream: go90 or NWSLSoccer.com.

Final Thoughts

Do you think Chicago will bounce back against Seattle? Who do you think will score for both sides? Is this a “must win” game for Chicago? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!