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Here We Go: Chicago Red Stars vs Houston Dash, NWSL Week 21 Preview

Chicago Red Stars are back after a short international break and take on Houston Dash

Shaina Benhiyoun Photography

The Chicago Red Stars are back in action this weekend as they play host to the Houston Dash on Sunday.

The Red Stars are currently on a three match losing skid, after dropping games to Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC, and most recently, Portland Thorns FC. Chicago is currently sitting in third on the league table with five games remaining on their schedule, and if they are going to make a run for playoff positioning, the timing is now in regard to the level of urgency.

Chicago’s quest for a fifth consecutive playoff appearance can only be considered an uphill battle. As the Red Stars face off against Houston this Sunday, it will mark the beginning of a 3 game stretch over the next 8 days.

Where We Last Saw Them

Chicago and Houston last played each other back on July 13. A rainy, hot, humid, muggy evening of a match mirrored the performance on both sides of the ball that evening. As Chicago scored early on in the seventh minute thanks to a goal from Katie Johnson, it would be the lone goal on the night as both teams muddled through for 90 minutes, and good enough to earn Chicago all three points. The game would mark the final match of the Red Stars “World Cup” portion of the schedule.

Starting Lineup We’d Like To See

A relatively unscathed injury report for the Red Stars as they come out from a brief break in schedule and welcome back their U.S. internationals from the World Cup victory tour. Tierna Davidson is still nursing a right thigh injury so we’re looking at Arin Wright to start up top again in an effort to drop back should Davidson be on limited minutes.

Keys To The Match

Top Line Dominance: Sam Kerr still leads the league in the golden boot race, while Yuki Nagasato has five goals of her own to go along with five assists on the season. However, the offense for the Red Stars has come to a screeching halt over their last three games. With all their goals coming in 90th minute stoppage time, along with being held goalless in their most recent loss. Time to find the spark at home and strike the nets again in this match, the next home game isn’t till the 21st.

Short vs Ohai: The previous two matchups have been no contest, Casey Short has frustrated several top offensive options this season and Ohai is definitely on that list of players as well. We will see how the two go head to head this match with player like Rachel Daly as an additional offensive option and finally available to play against Chicago.

Contain Daly: Rachel Daly is arguably the best player for the Dash this season even with a World Cup appearance under her belt this year. Their level of play when she is on the pitch is different compared to when she’s been absent. However, the English international was unavailable to play in prior matches against Chicago due to serving suspensions and World Cup duty. We’ll see how the Red Stars plan for her this match.

Players To Watch

Chicago Red Stars: Yuki Nagasato and Vanessa DiBernardo, whether in the form of goals or assists, the cylinders need to get moving again.

Houston Dash: Ohai and Daly aside, we all know what this is - the hometown game for the adopted hometown kid Sofia Huerta, deal with it. Her first time back on Bridgeview’s pitch since her trade a year ago.

Wild Prediction

2 goals and win!??

How To Watch

Kickoff: Sunday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m. CT at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports app

Final Thoughts

Still feel confident about the Red Stars playoff prospects? Do you think Chicago will get back to winning this Sunday? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below!