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The Hollow Crown: Utah Royals vs Chicago Red Stars, NWSL Week 3 game preview

The Red Stars face the Royals for the first time— and they ain’t looking to kiss the ring

Photo: Nikita Taparia

This Saturday the Chicago Red Stars head west to face Utah Royals FC for the first time. The Royals’ inaugural home game is also Lifetime’s featured game of the week, meaning a lot of eyeballs will be on both teams. The match has been reported as sold out and are currently selling standing room only tickets.

Chicago is coming off a loss against the Portland Thorns in their own home opener two weeks ago. The 3-2 scoreline saw a Red Stars team much improved from their week one draw against Houston. After a brief break for National Team games featuring the UWSNT and Mexico, the Red Stars are still looking for their first win of the season. Will they play spoiler to Utah’s inaugural celebrations?

Game Recognize Game And You Looking Unfamiliar

With a new year came newer-ish teams, and while we will never be over our fallen midwest comrades in FC Kansas City, the relocation of FCKC to Utah has been something special to watch unfold.

A sold out stadium and post game concert featuring Rachel Platten are just some of the things the Utah Royals have planned for their home opener. The excitement around the home opener has Utah looking for their first win of 2018.

In their week one match against Orlando, Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir scored the lone gone against the Pride for a draw. Goalkeeper Abby Smith has been doing a good job of staying strong in net as she has recorded 6 saves and and a clean sheet to date.

Scout the Royals in their week 2 match here:

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

The injury demon is alive and well this week. The Red Stars enter week 3 missing Vanessa DiBernardo, Casey Short, and Rosie White - all placed on the injured 45 day list. Julie Ertz is still out with a right knee sprain, and Stephanie Mcaffrey has been upgraded to questionable with illness.

Removed from the injury list is Yuki Nagasato, who was rehabbing a hamstring injury. While many are thrilled and eager to see her back, we wouldn't be upset if she was a bench option for this game.

We’re sticking with a similar personnel from week 2. If player and position rotation is the Red Stars way this first half of the season, we wouldn’t mind seeing Arin Gilliland stay up top as a forward option for Chicago.

Keys To The Match

Like a small boat: It might be a new team, but head coaches Laura Harvey and Rory Dames go way back as far a coaching duals go. After five NWSL seasons, Harvey coached Seattle Reign to their 1st victory in Toyota Park last year. Will she start a new streak for Dames and Chicago in Utah?

On the ocean: While it’s no secret about the Red Stars injuries (their match against Portland saw roster 14 players) they’ll find themselves in a similar position in Utah - including the Royals welcoming back forward Amy Rodriguez. While it’s not an unfamiliar situation, it is new territory (and altitude), and they’ll have to put together a strong performance in front of 18,000 fans of the opposition.

Sending big waves: The Red Stars improved in their week 2 match against Portland, showing us more of the quick passing-possession style of soccer they intend to play. They also improved in shots, and goals. The stage is set for more.

How To Watch

When: Saturday, April 14. Pregame at 2:30 pm CT. Kickoff at 2:50 pm CT.

TV: Lifetime, check your local cable provider for listings

Final Thoughts

Will the Red Stars notch their first official win of the season? Who will end up on the scoresheet for Chicago? Do you know all the lyrics to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song? Leave your thoughts in the comment below!