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And So It Begins: Utah Royals vs Chicago Red Stars, NWSL Week 4 Preview

World Cup Roster announced, U.S. players gone, will Chicago get another win?

The Chicago Red Stars head out west on for a match-up with Utah Royals FC this week.

The Red Stars head into Rio Tinto Stadium undefeated after a pair of draws and then getting their first win against Reign FC at home last week - a 3-0 victory with goals from Casey Short, Yuki Nagasato, and Brooke Elby.

Chicago and Utah will be without U.S. National Team players on their squad as kickoff this Friday, will the Red Stars notch another win in Utah?

Where We Last Saw Them

The Red Stars and Royals last faced off back in September during the final match of the season. A largely meaningless match in the name of playoff implications as Chicago had punched their semi-final ticket the week prior at home against Sky Blue FC.

Royals fans had hoped for a miracle from the bottom table New Jersey squad for a shot at playoff spot against Chicago in a final regular season matchup. However, it wasn’t meant to be, and the Royals went on to win 2-1 to end their season. Sam Kerr had the lone Red Stars goal.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

With the U.S. women’s national team World Cup roster announcement official now, Chicago will be without Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian, and Tierna Davidson. With the somewhat surprising omission of Casey Short, will ultimately Chicago’s gain. When healthy, Short is one of the best defenders in the world and the Red Stars will absolutely need her this season. Eventually Matilda’s captain Sam Kerr will be gone as well for Australia, but until then we’d like the lineup to look something like this.

Keys To The Match

Top Line: Over the last few games Chicago has showcased their expanded arsenal on offense. Kerr, Nagasato, and Johnson have been flexing their chemistry and ability to both facilitate and execute offensive attacks their last two games at home. Will have to see if they can carry that on the road. Doesn’t hurt to have Utah native Vasconcelos as depth for this match either.

Body Boyd: U.S. National Team players are out for the World Cup. That means both Club and Country’s number one, Alyssa Naeher, are off on international duty. Back up keeper Emily Boyd had her number called last year and recorded two shutouts for the Red Stars. This will be her first regular season start since last season. Good instincts, strong hands, are all things that will come in handy this match as the Summer of Boyd begins now.

Players To Watch

Utah Royals: Amy Rodriguez. With Christen Press off on World Cup duty the veteran attacker will want to test the second year Keeper.

Chicago Red Stars: Casey Short. Go Off.

Wild Prediction

Someone subs in and scores.

How To Watch

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: Yahoo Sports

Final Thoughts

Do you think the Red Stars will get another win? Who do you think will score in this match? What player do want to have an impact? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!