The Chicago Red Stars will face the Houston Dash for the third time in the regular season. Chicago currently sits in third place, tied on 36 points with Orlando, but hold a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Red Stars are on a 3-game undefeated streak with 2 wins and a draw over their last few matches.
Chicago had the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot against FC Kansas City, but the 0-0 draw kept NWSL standings between the 3rd and 4th teams at a standstill heading into the FIFA break.
With six (6!) Red Stars returning from national team duty, Saturday’s match could determine playoff positioning moving forward. North Carolina and Portland have already clinched playoff spots and will host semi-finals.
Chicago has had their hands full in their recent matches against Houston in Texas and lower seeded Dash will look to finish out the season strong with only two games left in the regular season.
Where we last saw them
Chicago and Houston last faced each other back in May. An own goal off a set piece from Danielle Colaprico, and a goal from Julie Ertz, gave Chicago a 2-0 victory in front of their fans in Bridgeview. It was in this game that Morgan Brian (then a member of the Dash) also got her first minutes of the 2017 NWSL season.
Starting line up we’d like to see
We’re hoping that a midfield featuring Ertz, Colaprico, Morgan, and DiBernardo will make its debut this game in some way shape or form this game. Considering all National Team players (Press, Naeher, Ertz, Short, Brian, Huerta) saw extended playing time over the FIFA break, player rotations and substitutions on deck please. That being said, we wouldn’t mind seeing Huerta back up top with Press if DiBernardo is healthy.
Keys to the match
Flanks on Flanks on Flanks
Houston’s Poliana has been essential in helping to create an offensive attack for the Dash this year, even netting 4 goals of her own, along with 2 assists on the season. Chicago is no stranger to attacking and defending the flanks, and will want to counter with strong pace of their own from Casey Short and co.
Yuki Nagasato has had appearances as a starter and as a substitute. Her ability to provide a different look and creativity off the bench during the recent North Carolina game, led the Red Stars to a second half surge and victory.
Jane of Arch
The brightest star this season for the Dash has been rookie Goal Keeper, Jane Campbell. Although a rough start to the season, the young keeper quickly adapted and has made 52 saves over 13 games. However, she has also allowed 16 goals. Chicago will want to establish their flank play early and stretch the Houston back line.
How To Watch
Kick off: Saturday, Sept 23, at 7:30 p.m. CDT at BBVA compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Do you think Chicago will come away with the win in Houston? Who will get on the score sheet? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!