CHICAGO–All eyes are on France as the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup draws near, but for now, they should look to the NWSL as Chicago and Portland are set to play what could be a historic match before the World Cup tournament begins. Historically, matchups between the two teams have been incredibly close, and it is Chicago’s captain, Vanessa DiBernardo,  and the way her all-seeing eyes control Chicago’s midfield that makes her this week’s player to watch.

Through seven games this season, DiBernardo has 10 shots and an assist to her name. DiBernardo’s ability to create scoring opportunities is impeccable, with her 20 career assists placing her 4th in the all-time league rankings. In Chicago’s Week 6 win over Houston, she was instrumental in setting up the slick give-and-go sequence leading to Sam Kerr’s game-winning goal. DiBernardo continued her run of form recently against Washington, notching four shots and five touches as well as a season-high of seven created chances.

DiBernardo is one of four Red Star players to make an appearance in every game this season, making consecutive starts in Chicago’s last four games and recently became one of the 25 players to reach 100 caps and only the 10th player to do so with one club. Amongst Red Stars players who have played in more than three games this season, DiBernardo currently leads the team in passes per 90 minutes played with a  47.3 average. Through her ability to read the field and quickly make smart plays, Captain V will look to continue making big offensive plays and dominate the midfield.

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