The Chicago Red Stars will travel to Orlando, Florida this Saturday to take on the Orlando Pride in the 15th week of NWSL play. Occupying both ends of the table, the Red Stars will be competing to keep hold of the top spot, while the Pride is hoping to escape into a more solid middle ground. Thus far, Chicago has won both times these teams have met this season, but the most recent score line was more narrow than what would be expected, and that may embolden Orlando enough for them to pull off a victory this weekend. With the return of many Tournament of Nations players, this will be an exciting game for the full 90 minutes.
Business as usual for Christen Press and Red Stars
In the last week before the international break, Christen Press tallied a brace to lead her team to a 2-1 victory and she will be back from the Tournament of Nations looking for a repeat. Press’s patience and skill shined with the USWNT, which was of no surprise to fans of the Red Stars, whose talent has never been questioned thanks to her ability to produce goals week after week. She isn’t the only one standing out on the international stage either; Alyssa Naeher is returning after playing three full 90s in the tournament, and Casey Short and Julie Ertz got time as well. Sofia Huerta will be another player that will be difficult for the Orlando defense to control, who despite having previously played with the Mexican Women’s National team has also trained with the USWNT as they appeal to FIFA to change her affiliation. This thread of players running through all lines of the team can keep them connected this weekend, which will heighten the threat they pose.
Orlando looking to stun Chicago
It was only two weeks ago when Orlando narrowly lost to Chicago, the goal differential of one much narrower than expected. Orlando will have plenty of internationals returning from the Tournament of Nations, including Marta and Steph Catley, among others. Alex Morgan, who scored in her team’s last match of the tournament against Japan, will be back in her hometown of Orlando eager to compete against her other national teammates along with Ali Krieger. Catley’s Australian team took home the gold at the tournament, bringing with it confidence that will translate into her play this weekend with such a short turn around. Orlando’s biggest struggle has been connectivity, but as the season progresses, noticeable improvements have been made. How they navigate that challenge will largely determine the outcome of this match.
The match will be played at the Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, August 5th, 2017. The game kicks off at 7:30 PM EST and will be streamed on the go90 app and website.