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Where It’s All Action: Chicago Red Stars vs Sky Blue FC, NWSL Week 23 Preview

Chicago Red Stars can clinch playoff spot tonight against Sky Blue FC

Nikita Taparia Photography

The schedule that never ends will carry on today as the Chicago Red Stars face Sky Blue FC tonight.

The post-Labor Day match is a rescheduled affair back from July 28th as Sky Blue FC was unable to travel into Chicago due to weather conditions. Chicago can wrap up their postseason with a win or draw against New Jersey tonight since they have a tiebreaker over Utah Royals in the standings.

In what will be their final home appearance in the regular season, the Red Stars find themselves undefeated in their last four matches, winning their last game in a 3-1 victory over Orlando Pride.

Sky Blue FC enter Chicago on short rest, having just played to a 1-1 draw against Washington Spirit on Sunday.

Where We Last Saw Them

The Red Stars and Sky Blue FC last faced each other back on July 7th. The Red Stars found themselves in New Jersey on the end of a long match week, having played three games in a seven day period. The Red Stars won the match 3-1, thanks to a hat trick from Sam Kerr. The former Sky Blue player notched all three goals, and later in post game comments, helped spark dialogue surrounding poor conditions for players in New Jersey.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

Several players are out for this match on both sides of the pitch. Red Stars are missing Casey Short, Alyssa Naeher, Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, and Christina Murillo for international duty. Summer Green is also out playing with the U-23 squad.

The Red Stars have signed four National Team Replacement Players ahead of tonight’s match, including defender Zoey Goralski and midfielders Jo Boyles and Chandra Eigenberger, along with goalkeeper Ryann Torrero.

There are enough core players on Chicago to handle the task ahead. Having to produce results on a short roster is nothing new to this squad.

Here is who we want to see deliver tonight.

Keys To The Match

Drop L’s: Sky Blue FC are coming into Toyota Park on short rest and a short roster of their own. The team has zero wins on the season. The players deserve better and the organization has failed them. Everyone feels bad. That being said— the playoffs are on the line for Chicago. Score early and often.

Pull up back to back: Being undefeated in their last four matches is great on paper, but the Chicago has three of those as draws. In the event they punch their playoff ticket tonight, it bodes well for confidence moving forward through a win - as they have a final match against Utah Royals on Saturday - a team hoping Sky Blue plays spoiler for Chicago.

Give your block hell: There’s a lot of things to be said about a team that has nothing to lose vs a team that has everything to gain, and one of those things is that Sam Kerr is leading the league in goals scored. However, in Chicago’s most recent win - it was goals from both from Kerr and DiBernardo - sparked by a collective effort from Colaprico and Nagasato, that helped bring home the victory.

Players To Watch

Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan has been on the end of some true heartbreakers this season as the starting goalkeeper. She has also come up in huge moments for New Jersey, even saving a penalty against Marta. We expect Shea Groom to keep Chicago’s backline honest this match, freeing up Sarah Killion to take shots from distance.

Chicago Red Stars: It’s finally the home debut for Red Stars rookie goal keeper Emily Boyd. Boyd recorded a shutout earlier in the season against Washington Spirit. Here’s to getting one in front of the home side.

How To Watch

Kickoff: Tuesday, September 4th at 6:30pm CT at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL

Stream: | NWSL app

Final Thoughts

Do you think the Red Stars will clinch against Sky Blue tonight? Who do you want to see get a start with so many players out? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!