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And We Back: Chicago Red Stars vs North Carolina Courage, NWSL Week 20 Preview

After nearly a month, the Red Stars are back in action to make a playoff push. Will they get a win against the Shield winners?

Left to Right: Nikki Stanton, Katie Naughton, Yuki Nagasato, and Brooke Elby cheering at Tournament of Nations on Aug 2.
Shaina Benhiyoun Photography

The Chicago Red Stars welcome league leaders, and now 2018 NWSL shield winners North Carolina Courage this Friday at Toyota Park. It’s the penultimate home match for the Red Stars now that a prior match against Sky Blue FC has been rescheduled to September 4th.

It will be nearly a month (27 days) that the Red Stars have seen full match minutes, after a Bye Week, international break for Tournament of Nations, and a postponed match - the Red Stars playoff road begins now.

While North Carolina have their playoff spot clinched, the Red Stars sit in fifth place battling for playoff positioning on the NWSL table.

Where We Last Saw Them

Chicago and North Carolina last played each other on July 4th. The Red Stars headed into Cary, NC on short rest at the end of a 3 game week. While the Red Stars were awarded a penalty kick that Yuki Nagasato converted, the damage was already done as Chicago lost the match 4-1.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

This week the Red Stars announced the signing of two new players to the roster in Christina Murillo and Erin Yenney. We are excited for their arrival and hope they see playing time with the Red Stars during the remainder of the season.

However, we expect much of the (now) healthier squad to date take the pitch. Colaprico, and Brian for the mid - while Nagasato, DiBernardo, Mautz, and Kerr provide the attack. Stanton, Gorden, on for 2nd half subs.

Keys To The Match

Stars will guide you home: 27 days is a long time in between games. But players like Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian, Casey Short, and Sam Kerr all saw time during the Tournament of Nations while playing for their respective National Teams (USA/Australia), and they will need strong games against a top tier team in North Carolina

Soccer: It’s literally been a month and getting to this game has felt like an eternity so honestly lets just soccer.

Players To Watch

North Carolina: Lynn Williams has been scoring, while Crystal Dunn has been creating. Dunn leads the league in chances created and had a lead role during the 4-1 loss they handed to Chicago back on July 4th.

Chicago: You need goals to win, but we have eyes on the backline in this one. Casey Short on the flank, with Katie Naughton at center back.

How To Watch

Kickoff: Friday, August 10 at 7pm CT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL

Stream: or NWSL app (RIP go90 Orb)

Final Thoughts

Who do you think will have an impact for the Red Stars? Are the Courage unstoppable? Will you be attending Fan Appreciation night at Toyota Park? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!