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Legit On That Jet: Sky Blue FC vs Chicago Red Stars, NWSL Week 18 Preview

Chicago stays on the East Coast for a midweek match against Sky Blue FC

Shaina Benhiyoun Photography

The Chicago Red Stars continue their east coast road trip this week as they face Sky Blue FC tonight.

A midweek match for the Red Stars as they are coming off their most recent win against Washington Spirit. Chicago won their fifth in a row last Saturday against the Spirit, thanks to a goal from Yuki Nagasato that was assisted by Casey Short. It was the lone goal for the Red Stars and the low scoring affair was enough to keep the teams’ winning streak in tact.

Chicago arrives to New Jersey where they face a Sky Blue FC team at the bottom of the league table - a team they lost to just last month.

Where We Last Saw Them

The Red Stars and Sky Blue FC last played each other back on July 6. It was the first meeting between the two teams for this season. Chicago was navigating their way through a bit of a season slump having dropped 3 of their last 4 prior to playing Sky Blue at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, and SBFC had just recently fired their head coach at the time. Final game before U.S. national team players returned for either squad, and seemed like an ideal match for the Red Stars World Cup roster to get a result, Chicago would go on to lose the match 2-1.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

Travel on a short week with short rest has us more than open to some good old fashioned player rotation. Julie Ertz took a bit of punishment during the match against Washington - which means she will probably play 90 minutes! However, if she doesn’t, this is a good match for that as there’s lots of options for the Red Stars to get themselves a different look at various players as they continue their make their push for points at the top of the table.

Keys To The Match

That’s a mood ring: Winning is breeds confidence and confidence is contagious. Despite the travel and short rest, the Red Stars enter this match as favorites to not just get a result, but win. They should continue to play as such if they want to keep the conversation around them as not just a “playoff team” but an elite team in NWSL.

Everybody Eats: The season is winding down as Chicago begins the final 8 games of their season. This portion of the schedule is where they will find themselves playing games on short rest, and it’s an opportunity for role players to show they can contribute - and for coaches to show that they have trust in them to do so.

Players To Watch

Sky Blue FC: Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez, she scored a goal and had a good performance against Chicago last time they faced each other - and now she’s back as Pan-American bronze medalist. Kailen Sheridan has been having another great season in net for Sky Blue FC despite their record, look for the keeper to try and frustrate Chicago’s top line.

Chicago Red Stars: Chicagoland kids run free on this one please - Short, Vanessa DiBernardo, Sarah Gorden, and Katie Naughton.

Wild Prediction

Sam Kerr double hat-trick.

How To Watch

Kickoff: Wednesday, August 14 at 6:00 p.m. CT at Yurcak Field

TV: NBC Sports Chicago +

Stream: NBC Sports App or Yahoo Sports

Final Thoughts

Who do you want to see start this match? Do you think the Red Stars extend their winning streak to six? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below!