The Red Stars head to Los Angeles this weekend to begin a run of four straight away fixtures. Following a 2-0 win at home against Gotham FC, the Red Stars will look to pick up another win to make it six points from two matches. A convincing performance against Gotham last Sunday should be enough to get Red Stars fans behind their team, as they begin a crucial stretch of games in their season. With playoffs right around the corner, the Red Stars must find and maintain some form. Going into this weekend’s match, the Red Stars sit in fourth, just one point back of third-placed Houston, and two back of second-place San Diego, who has a game in hand. Angel City sits just outside of the playoff spots in seventh place, but a win this weekend could very well keep them in the hunt. With a lot of season left to play, Angel City will be determined to make an impression, in what is just their first season in the NWSL. Making playoffs would be the perfect way for the new Los Angeles side to introduce themselves to the league, and Freda Coombe and her team are most certainly determined to push for a spot in the top six.
The key for the Red Stars, from now up until the end of the regular season, is to stay hungry. Complacency is what will allow their rivals back into the playoff hunt. It is the result of these matches, against those near them in the table, that will prove to be pivotal points in Chicago’s season.
Angel City are winless in their last two league matches, with their last win in the league coming on July 9, against second-place San Diego. Despite that, Along with getting a result against San Diego in the league, Los Angeles has also been able to tie top-of-the-table Portland in league play, Their ability to compete with some of the best in the league shows that this expansion club is dangerous, and is a force to be reckoned with regardless of what their results and 7th place in the standings show.
The Red Stars should again stick with their 3-4-3 setup. It’s a fluid system that makes the best use of the front three. Yuki Nagasato likes to come inside and operate as an attacking midfielder, while Pugh drift’s into dangerous areas.
Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo have cemented themselves in the middle of the park for the Red Stars this season, and were instrumental in their last match against Gotham, creating six scoring chances between the two of them. Following a clean sheet in their last match, and a Woman of the Match performance from center half Tatumn Milazzo, it is in the Red Stars' best interest to keep their back three the same as the last game. In goal should be Red Stars first choice goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher.
Keys to the Match:
Dominating the Game: It is essential that the Red Stars dominate possession, and with that comes dominating the game. In the Red Stars' last match against Gotham, their domination of possession forced their opponent to chase for almost the entirety of the match. Gotham never really threatened to score, and the Red Stars' victory was a comfortable one. If the central players can yet again dictate the flow of the game and dominate the ball, the Red Stars will be very hard to beat.
Making The Most of Chances From Wide Areas: In Chicago’s previous game, lots of the Red Stars’ chances came from balls into the box from wide areas. With both of the Red Stars’ goals coming from headers on the ends of crosses, Chicago will have to continue to make use of wide areas and their wingbacks to make the most of their attacking assets going forward. If they can stay clinical in front of goal and get on the ends of crosses, the Red Stars will be dangerous in this game.
How To Watch
Time: 7:00 PM
Streaming: CBS Sports Network, Twitch (international)
After coming off a victory in their last game, it is essential that the Red Stars keep playing well to ensure their spot in the playoffs. Again, complacency will be their downfall. With so many teams being in the hunt for the playoffs, a dip in form could be detrimental to the Red Stars' postseason aspirations. A victory on the road could show their league competitors that the Red Stars are serious contenders this season.
Score Prediction: 2-0 Red Stars