CHICAGO– The Chicago Red Stars travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on the Utah Royals this Friday. As the team gets ready for their second road match of the season, here are the keys to the match:
Summer of Boyd
With the World Cup roster announcement looming, Red Stars players will have their chance to take on more impactful roles for the squad. Enter Emily Boyd. The 15th overall selection in the 2018 NWSL Draft has patiently waited for her shot, learning under U.S. WNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. In the place of Naher, Boyd had two quality starts in 2018, making five saves and earning the shutout in both matches. Boyd will now be expected to carry the role of the starting goalkeeper, earning more minutes against some of the top teams in the NWSL over the summer.
Use Your Head
In two games against the Royals last season, the Red Stars were able to open the scoring from a headed goal. Katie Naughton’s header off a Danielle Colaprico free kick would be enough to give the Red Stars the win against Utah in their only meeting against each other in Bridgeview. In the regular season finale for the Red Stars, it was Sam Kerr who rose over the Royal defenders to power a headed effort into the back of the net to open the scoring at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Brooke Elby’s first NWSL goal last weekend against Reign FC came within her first minute of action in the game, which is impressive in its own right. However, what may be more impressive is that was the second consecutive week a Red Star player was able to score a minute into being substituted into the game. It was Michele Vasconcelos making a quick impact to even the game against Portland. It’s a testament to the strength of Chicago’s depth how quickly they are able to enter the game and make a difference for their team.