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No Days Off: Chicago Red Stars vs Utah Royals FC, NWSL Week 24 Preview

The Red Stars play their final regular season game against a playoff-seeking Utah Royals FC

Nikita Taparia Photography

The Chicago Red Stars play their final regular season match in 2019 this Saturday when they will host Utah Royals FC.

The Red Stars clinched their playoff spot last week with a 3-1 win over Washington Spirit. It is the fifth consecutive playoff appearance for the club. The victory also extended the Red Stars winning streak to four.

With one game remaining on their schedule, playoff positioning is in play, and a win over Utah combined with a draw or loss from Portland Thorns FC this weekend would clinch home field for Chicago.

Where We Last Saw Them

Chicago and Utah last played each other back in August 3. Both played a match with missing U.S. internationals who were off for a pair of World Cup victory tour games. Red Stars would win the match 2-0 with goals from Sam Kerr and Brooke Elby.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

Last one of the regular season then the Red Stars have a whole lot of time off to think about the playoffs. Vanessa DiBernardo is back in action just in time for the final match, and needs time in the eleven before the playoffs. Along with DiBernardo’s return, let’s hope the current backline gets another start together as well.

Keys To The Match

Finish Strong: Utah Royals head into Bridgeview with their backs to the corner fighting for their playoff lives. Chicago needs a combination of win and luck in some other places in an effort to host a home semifinal. Over the last two seasons the Red Stars have dropped their final regular season match on the road before heading into their semifinal. This year they have an opportunity to end their season at home on a high note.

High Line Sky High: Yuki Nagasato and Sam Kerr have established themselves as the standout duo this season, their ability to connect with each other and their teammates have allowed the Red Stars to play some of their most sophisticated soccer to date, a term in previous seasons that was not synonymous with former Chicago teams. If either of them have a strong game Chicago is hard to beat. When both of them are on the same page? Good luck.

Back Line Top Line: Chicago’s current back four of Julie Ertz, Tierna Davidson, Casey Short, and Sarah Gorden have played strong in front of Alyssa Naeher and account for 3 of Naeher’s 6 clean sheets this year. They conceded a late goal in rainy weather last week against a Washington Spirit team in the playoff hunt. They will face their biggest challenge this weekend against another top duo in the league, Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez.

Players To Watch

Chicago Red Stars: Tierna Davidson the young legend has been playing like she’s been a multi year pro the last few games. Big test this weekend.

Utah Royals FC: Of course, Christen Press. But really Nicole Barnhart, she’s been lights out this season and had several saves 1 v 1 last match against Kerr.

Wild Prediction

A sunny day with no clouds!

How To Watch

Kickoff: Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. CT at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: Yahoo Sports

Final Thoughts

Do you think the Red Stars win their final home game of the regular season? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below!