The Chicago Red Stars welcome Utah Royals FC to Toyota Park this Saturday for the first time ever. During the Royals’ inaugural home opener, it was the Red Stars who played spoiler, and Chicago will look grab the three points again this weekend in front of the home side.
Chicago and Utah were, of course, parties in a massive three-way trade that ended with former Red Stars striker Christen Press returning to the NWSL to suit up for the Royals. If emotions were high last week, they might be on another level this week. As the Red Stars make a second half push, Utah is coming off a huge win against North Carolina where they broke the undefeated streak for the Courage.
Where We Last Saw Them
Back in April, Chicago were visitors during the newly anointed home opener for the Utah Royals. In early season match that saw both teams still easing their way into the year, it was Chicago who came away with the win thanks to a brilliant volley from Danielle Colaprico. Stingy defense from Sam Johnson and the backline sealed the victory.
Starting Lineup We’d Like To See
With a massive roster shake up this week that saw the departures of Sofia Huerta, Sam Johnson, Taylor Comeau, and Lauren Kaskie - it also welcomed the arrival of Brooke Elby and Morgan Brian. While it’s not yet known if Elby will play on Saturday, but we’d like to see Brian with the start in mid with Ertz back in CB. Casey Short and Vanessa DiBernardo as second half subs for additional impact.
Keys To The Match
Stay unpredictable: While the 4-3-3, possession oriented, tiki-taka style, has been fun to watch - mixing things up last week kept a difficult Portland Thorns team honest against a short handed Chicago squad. Sure, continue to build play out of the back, but if Chicago find themselves playing more direct at times, with Sam Kerr looking more comfortable, it could be what helps the Red Stars this week against Utah.
Don’t dream it’s over: Points against other mid-table teams down the stretch will be important as the league standings shake out over time. Chicago has expressed and shown a unified front in spite of noisey narratives that the team and locker room is not up to the challenge of making it out of the season on top. Everyone loves a statement game, make another one here.
Players To Watch
Utah Royals: Hi, the last time Amy Roriguez was at Toyota Park she wrecked a rookie CRS squad in a 2015 semi-final - and she still looks like she can do it after being away due to pregancy and rehabbing an ACL.
Chicago Red Stars: Yuki Nagasato has quietly become the undercover star of Chicago. If she’s not feeding her teammates the ball, she’s setting up goals on her own. Look for another good game from Nagasato.
How To Watch
Kick off: Saturday, June 23 at 7:00 pm CT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL
Stream: go90 app
Will the Red Stars come away with a win on Saturday? How do you feel about the recent trade? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!