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Win and Advance: Chicago Red Stars vs Angel City, NWSL Week 22 Preview

A win over Angel City in the final match of the regular season will be just enough to guarantee Chicago playoff football.

NWSL: Chicago Red Stars at Angel City FC Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Courage would have secured their playoff spot with a win yesterday against already playoff-bound San Diego. However, the Courage were held to a draw, giving the Chicago Red Stars a chance at qualifying for the playoffs in the final match of the regular season.

With the Courage sitting on 32 points, and the Red Stars on 30, anything short of a win will end the Red Stars season, and it will be the Courage who qualify for the playoffs.

Sunday’s opponent, Angel City, would have had a shot at sneaking into the playoff spots if North Carolina were to have lost on Saturday. Not only would North Carolina have had to lose, but Angel City would have to pull off a win against Chicago in a tricky away fixture.

Although Angel City can draw level on points with the Courage with a win against Chicago, North Carolina will qualify on goal differential. Angel City will have to beat Chicago by 16 goals to gain the edge over the Courage.

With these circumstances, Chicago should be the more motivated and hungry side of the two. The Red Stars will most certainly be fighting with everything, knowing that they stand a chance of making the playoffs with a win at home.

Previously on…

Angel City have only won one in their last five league matches, and were shutout in two of the five.

Despite their recent dip in form however, Angel City is a quality side. In their first league meeting with Chicago this season, Angel City came out on top by a score of 1-0.

The Red Stars must be wary of Angel City’s Savannah McCaskill. McCaskill was the difference maker in Angel City’s victory over the Red Stars earlier this season, scoring the game’s only goal. Additionally, McCaskill is Angel City’s leading scorer with seven this season.

Suggested Lineup:

The big changes to this team are a result of both Bianca St-Georges and Zoe Morse being shown red in the 3-0 defeat to Portland.

Arin Wright comes in for Morse in central defense, and Rachel Hill should replace St-Georges in the wide areas.

As for the rest of the team, Naeher is a lock in goal with Tatumn Milazzo and Amanda Kowalski ahead of her.

Sarah Luebbert should start on the left, with the dynamic duo of Colaprico and club captain DiBernardo holding down the engine room.

On the wings should be the dynamic pair of Mal Pugh and Yuki Nagasato, and Ava Cook should get the start at the nine.

Keys to the Match

110% Effort: Chicago knows this game is life or death for their season. Anything short of a win means no playoff football, the goal which the team has been working towards all season. It is win or go home, end of story. What more motivation does this team need?

If Chicago comes out on Sunday with more fight and effort than Angel City, Chicago will most certainly win this match and guarantee themselves a playoff spot.

Home Advantage: The Red Stars expect today’s match to have one of the biggest home crowds of the season. A packed SeatGeek Stadium full of Red Stars fans should give the Red Stars down on the pitch even more motivation to go on and win the match.

The Red Stars would love nothing more than to end off the regular season on a high in front of their home supporters.

How To Watch

Date + Time: October 2, 5:00 P.M. CST

TV: The U

Stream: Paramount +, Twitch (international)

Final Thoughts:

It’s do or die. No second chances, Chicago need a win and there’s no two ways about it. Angel City should be nervous, the Red Stars are going to come out playing for everything in front of their home crowd on Sunday, and best believe the Red Stars are going to do everything in their power to put on a show at SeatGeek.

2-0 Red Stars.