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Drainage Depth: Chicago Red Stars vs North Carolina Courage, NWSL Week 5 Preview

Will Chicago push through their first season loss and get a result against North Carolina?

Photo Provided By Chicago Red Stars

A long week of waiting for the Chicago Red Stars game this weekend. Chicago will play host to North Carolina Courage in a Mother’s Day match-up on Sunday.

The Red Stars are coming off of their first loss of the season, where they fell to Utah Royals FC, 1-0. A tough game on the road as Chicago had to play down a woman after losing Katie Johnson to a Red Card in the 42nd minute. Per NWSL rules, Johnson will be unavailable for this match against North Carolina.

This will be the second match against the Courage this season, but the first match at home without U.S. Women’s National Team players, who are off in World Cup camps prior to their international duty.

Where We Last Saw Them

North Carolina and Chicago last played each other back in April in Week 1. During the season opener, the Red Stars were on the road against the defending champion Courage, and played them into 1-1 draw. Sam Kerr had the lone goal for Chicago.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

U.S. players gone and Katie Johnson suspended, the Red Stars will have to dig a little deeper into their bench here. The recent announcement of Alyssa Mautz being out for the season is huge. And the Red Stars will get their first taste of a World Cup stretch without her against the Courage. Vanessa DiBernardo went 60 minutes in her first start for the midfield, and is finally off the IR. Look for Michele Vasconcelos as an option, or Maria Sanchez, who we’re still waiting on to see her first match minutes.

Keys To The Match

Play low again? Or not. In their first matchup against North Carolina, we saw the Red Stars play a bit lower and blocked in against the Courage as they attempted to expose them on the counter. It worked enough to nab a goal and grab a draw for a point on the road in the season opener. With players out for each team this week, things could be a bit more open, as we saw when Sky Blue FC played against the Courage last week.

Outbacks Run Wild: DiBernardo, O’Sullivan, Colaprico, Zerboni, Stanton, Debinha, and those are just some of the midfielders that will actually be there on Sunday. Midfield could get clogged in this one, and the outside backs might have to cover some ground.

Players To Watch

North Carolina Courage: Sure, Lynn Williams and McCall Zerboni. But really? Kristen Hamilton and Debinha. Maybe even Leah Pruitt and Julie Spetsmark.

Chicago Red Stars: While Sam Kerr has played well against North Carolina Courage in the past, having scored 3 goals in the 5 matches when she’s faced NCC, this match we’ll be watching Yuki Nagasato. First game of the season was a bit disjointed as they played low against the Courage— with Chicago unable to connect with, or build— through Nagasato after their opening goal. Let’s see how they look in Week 5.

Wild Prediction

A Shutout! Big match for Emily Boyd to show what she’s made of.

How To Watch

Kickoff: Sunday, May 12 at 5pm CT in Bridgeview, IL at Seat Geek Stadium

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: Yahoo Sports

Final Thoughts

Do you think the Red Stars will get a win against North Carolina on Sunday? Who is your player to watch? Bringing your Mom or Motherly figure to the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!