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Keeping It Real vs Keeping It Weird: Chicago Red Stars vs Portland Thorns, NWSL Week 12 Preview

Will Chicago kick off their season second half with a win?

Nikita Taparia | Stepover FC

The Chicago Red Stars are back in action following a brief international break. USWNT regulars Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, and Sofia Huerta are back with the Red Stars as Chicago prepares to host the Portland Thorns on Saturday at Toyota Park. The game will serve as the maiden voyage for the new broadcast deal between the NWSL and ESPN.

The Red Stars will be looking to build some momentum after their solid 2-0 away win over the Washington Spirit two weeks ago.

Where We Last Saw Them

Chicago faced Portland back on March 31st. The 3-2 loss was the first for the Red Stars in 2018. Despite going down early in the match, Chicago tried to fight their way back, eventually heading 2-1 at halftime. In the second half, the Thorns ultimately sealed the 3-2 victory with a Penalty Kick from Christine Sinclair.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

With the whole gang back together, we’d like to see them get back to basics and move forward in this second half of the season with the usual suspects now healthy and on the active roster. It’ll been nice to see them all in the starting XI, especially DiBernardo and Short, who have been sorely missed.

Keys To The Match

Drippin in Finesse: After a 5 hour delay and through rainy conditions against Washington, the Red Stars were able to finally get a win after several weeks of draws losses. Aggressive lines and a catalyst of chemistry from Yuki Nagasato were key, and will hopefully be a factor against Portland.

Mark Horan: Except not really, because Christine Sinclair literally has always enjoyed eating the Red Stars mistakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An organized backline in a chaotic game was essential to sealing a win for Chicago in DC, and will be needed again to insure the 3 points at home against Portland.

Real Season Starts Now: Chicago Red Stars have a historically horrendous record against the Portland Thorns, and haven’t won a game against them since 2013. With the the second half of the season underway, those pesky little things called tie-breakers could come into play down the stretch. 1 game in the books against Portland and 2 more to go, Chicago will want a result at home this weekend against their rivals in the league standing.

Players To Watch

Portland Thorns: Christine Sinclair is the usual suspect, but look for Lindsey Horan to disrupt the mid.

Chicago Red Stars: It’s Australian night at Toyota Park so look out for Samantha Kerr. But if you’re just too Chicago for all that keep an eye on Chicagoland locals in Katie Naughton and Casey Short.

How to Watch

Kickoff: Saturday, June 16th, 7:00pm CT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL

TV/Stream: ESPNews

Final Thoughts

Will this be the start of winning streak for Chicago? Will Chicago finally get a win against Portland after all these years? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!