2019 NWSL Regular Season – Week 1
North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars
WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, North Carolina
April 13 – 6:00 PM CT
The Chicago Red Stars hope to take three points on the road to open the season against the defending NWSL Champions in North Carolina Courage. Last season, the Courage took the win that mattered, claiming a 2-0 win over Chicago in the semifinals, but Chicago is ready to show up on April 13 in North Carolina for a battle.
Streaming: Yahoo Sports
The NWSL announced that all matches during the 2019 season will be streamed through Yahoo Sports and available on the app and online.
The app is also available on Apple TV (gen 4+) and Roku (gen 3+). For international fans, the games will be available live on NWSLsoccer.com and on the NWSL app with no sign-in required.
The Courage played in five preseason matches, but one stands out above the rest to gain an idea of the strength of North Carolina. Orlando Pride visited the Courage on March 23 for a preseason match that saw the visiting side fall 4-0. Both sides played a starting lineup that you can expect to see this season, but the score shows the dominance of the North Carolina side.
Meredith Speck, Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams and Julia Spetsmark all earned a goal in the match. Overall, North Carolina notched 12 shots to Orlando’s 3 and a combination of goalkeepers Stephanie Labbe and Katelyn Rowland earned a shutout with 2 saves.
What to Watch For
Looking for Revenge? No one will forget that in back-to-back years the team has lost to North Carolina, and no one more so than the players from 2017 and 2018. Since falling to the Courage in Portland, more than a few players have conveyed their desire to make this a meaningful season. The Red Stars players want revenge, but not just for this game, but the entire season.
Rookie into the Lineup? Chicago Red Stars added Tierna Davidson to the roster when they drafted the 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year with the first overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. With 19 caps for the U.S. WNT, fans might forget that Davidson is just 20 years of age and a rookie in the league. However, this 20-year-old will most likely jump straight to the starting lineup and we don’t see any indication of her acting like a rookie with the international experience she has under her belt.
Will Kerr Start Things Off Like She Ended? Sam Kerr is no secret. The Australian standout forward once again won the NWSL Golden Boot, marking back-to-back years the international has taken the title. With 16 goals notched in 2018, the Red Stars will look to her and fellow international Yuki Nagasato to lead the attack. However, Chicago added Mexican International Katie Johnson from Sky Blue FC in a trade during the offseason that could catapult energy into the attack for the Red Stars. If North Carolina tries to slow down Kerr with extra eyes on her, there are plenty of forces with Nagasato, Johnson and a ready to go Julie Ertz that will push the ball into the final third for the Red Stars.