2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret – Matchday 3
North Carolina Courage vs Chicago Red Stars
Zions Bank Stadium. Herriman, UT
July 5 at 11:30 AM CT
CHICAGO – The Chicago Red Stars resume preliminary round play in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret when they face the North Carolina Courage on Sunday, July 5 at 11:30 a.m. CT.
Previous Result: The Red Stars gained a point in their previous match in the NWSL Challenge Cup after a scoreless draw with the Portland Thorns.
Opponent: The North Carolina Courage were victorious in their second game of the NWSL Challenge Cup, defeating the Washington Spirit 2-0 on Wednesday, July 1st. Both goals of the game came from North Carolina’s Lynn Williams, with the first one coming in the 50th minute unassisted and the second coming in the 61st from a Debinha cross. The win on Wednesday saw the Courage move to first place in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, with six points through their first two games.
Key Acquisitions: North Carolina stayed fairly quiet during the offseason, retaining many of the same players who helped guide the team to their second straight NWSL Championship last year. The team’s biggest acquisition came via trade with the Courage where they acquired the rights to Hallie Mace, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft, from Sky Blue FC in exchange for midfielder McCall Zerboni and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft. The Courage would also acquire the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft from Chicago via a trade, using the pick to select forward Ally Watt from Texas A&M. The same draft would see the Courage select defenders Sinclaire Miramontez and Addisyn Merrick, along with midfielder Brianne Folds.
Consistency: The North Carolina Courage came into this tournament having won the NWSL Supporters Shield and appearing in the NWSL Championship Game every season since 2017, winning the title in the previous two seasons. Within the same timeframe, the Red Stars have also found consistent success. Chicago is the only NWSL franchise to reach the postseason on five consecutive occasions, having reached their first-ever NWSL Championship game in 2019.
Best v. Best: Sunday morning’s game features two teams with current rosters that saw a combined eight players represented in the league’s Best XI and Second XI for the 2019 season, the most out of any two teams combined last year. The Best XI has a combined two from Chicago (Julie Ertz and Casey Short ) and one from North Carolina (Abby Dahlkemper). The Second XI sees a combined five, with three representing the Courage (Abby Erceg, Crystal Dunn, Kristen Hamilton) and two from the Red Stars (Alyssa Naeher, Yuki Nagasato).
Hit ‘Em Up: The top three assist leaders from 2019 face off on Sunday. North Carolina’s Debinha and Jalene Daniels (formerly Hinkle) finished second and third last season in assists with seven and six respectively. Above them was Chicago’s Yuki Nagasato, who claimed last season’s assist crown after serving eight assists in the Red Stars attack last season to go along with her eight goals.
McCaskills: Chicago’s Savannah McCaskill donned the captain’s armband for the first time in her Red Stars career last Wednesday against Portland and had a Woman of the Match Performance. McCaskill was vital to the Red Stars on both sides of the pitch for the full 90 minutes as she led the team with three shots and adding two tackles on the defensive side.