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We Got A Ringer: Washington Spirit vs Chicago Red Stars, NWSL Week 5 game preview

The Red Stars get one of their heavy hitters activated as Sam Kerr links up with the squad

Nikita Taparia

A stretch of 3 games over 8 days for the Chicago Red Stars have them in second place in the NWSL standings. On Saturday, Chicago heads back on the road to face the Washington Spirit for the first time this season.

Chicago is coming off a draw after facing Sky Blue FC last Saturday. The New Jersey squad were looking for their first points of the season coming into Toyota Park.

Sofia Huerta made their quest for points a difficult one as she scored a goal 44 seconds into the match. It would be the Red Stars lone goal, despite a solid attack from Chicago with opportunities on goal. A late equalizer came for Sky Blue after a shot from Savannah McCaskill was deflected into goal.

Chicago will try to keep the offense flowing in DC as Sam Kerr has now been placed on the active roster for the Red Stars.

Where We Last Saw Them

Back in August 2017 the Red Stars visited the Spirit and came away with a 2-1 win. The Red Stars had an early 1-0 lead after a goal from Kristie Mewis, but Washington equalized on a Cheyna Williams header with the service from Mal Pugh. Christen Press would deliver the victory after taking on the keeper 1 v 1 and ended a losing streak.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Admittedly, so has the entire Chicago Red Stars desk here at Hot Time as well.

Sam Kerr was placed on the active roster for Chicago and could get her first start of the season this Saturday. Julie Ertz will also make her return after rehabbing a right knee injury the last several weeks. We’re looking forward to seeing how Ertz and Colaprico run the mid this match.

Keys To The Match

Backline brawl: Aubrey Bledsoe has shown up huge on occasion for the Spirit. While defenders Estelle Johnson and Caprice Dydasco have had their share of defensive moments, Bledsoe has been called upon to come up with 26 saves over 4 games for the Spirit. The Red Stars will want to press the back line early.

It’s all coming back to me: While Chicago welcome’s Sam Kerr, Washington is welcoming players back in Estefania Banini. While it’s to be determined if Banini will get time on Saturday, the assumption is that Kerr will. Chicago has banded together over the last 4 weeks and have the chemistry and points to show for it, hopefully Kerr finds her stride sooner rather than later.

Players To Watch:

Chicago Red Stars: Sam Kerr has arrived, which is AWESOME. But how ready are people to see how Yuki Nagasto and Kerr play together? You’ll want to watch out for the service from Danielle Colaprico on the pitch as well.

Washington Spirit: Mal Pugh has elevated her game in her second season in the NWSL with two goals over 4 games so far. Make sure you also keep an eye on Frannie Ordega as she has always had an impact on matches against Chicago.

How To Watch

Kick off: Saturday April 28, 6pm CT at Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland.

Stream: go90 app, NWSL app (for international viewers)

Final Thoughts

Do you think Sam Kerr will score in her Red Stars debut? Will the defense shut out the Spirit? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!