CHICAGO – The Red Stars will look to get three points in their final match of their four-game road trip against Sky Blue FC. The match will kick off at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday, July 15, at 6 p.m. CT (go90 or NWSLsoccer.com).
In last week’s action, Chicago battled to a 0-0 draw against the Boston Breakers, despite having the upper hand of 10 shots on goal, while allowing Boston zero. The Red Stars nearly got away with the win, when a ball over the top found captain Christen Press, who slotted the ball past Breakers goalkeeper, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, but the goal was called offside in the 72nd minute.
It’s still Press who leads the league in shots (50) and shots on goal (29). Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher managed her fifth shutout of the season, while the Red Stars back five once again tops the league in all defensive categories. Chicago leads the league in goals against average, with Naeher earning the third best save percentage at 78%, just behind Portland and Boston.
Meanwhile, Sky Blue found a victory in a come-from-behind 3-2 match, thanks to the league’s first hat-trick of the season by Samantha Kerr. Sky Blue came away with 28 shots with 10 on goal in their last match and controlled the possession with 63%.
Kerr has been on a rampage through the first part of season and is highly considered the leading candidate for NWSL Player of the Year. With recent attacking success, Kerr leads the league with nine goals, but narrowly trails Press in shots (36) and shots on goal (27). The reigning two-time Player of the Month, Kerr was honored the Player of the Week after her three-goal game in Week 13.
Along with Kerr, Sarah Killion also stands on the leader board with five goals. Although Sky Blue’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan is second for most saves this season (53), Sky Blue has given up the second-most goals (21), leaving their goal difference a surprising one goal. The goalkeeper also has the second-fewest clean sheets in the league with two.
In the two team’s last matchup in Chicago this season, the Red Stars took the 2-1 win after a second-half comeback victory. Down in the first three minutes of play, Chicago revamped in the second half and scored two goals in a matter of four minutes to seal the win. The Red Stars outshot Sky Blue, 12 to eight, as the game was nearly an equal match on the stat sheet.
Chicago will look for the victory to earn a tie for first place, while Sky Blue will attempt to defeat the Red Stars for the first time in club history to take over sole possession of second place.