CHICAGO – After the unfortunate end of the season leading, seven-game undefeated streak, the Red Stars will regroup in Orlando, looking to bounce back and defeat the Orlando Pride in their first meeting of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
In Chicago’s first midweek match-up, the Red Stars fell to the Seattle Reign 1-2 in a come-from-behind victory at Memorial Stadium. Midfielder Alyssa Mautz gave Chicago the lead just before halftime, thanks to a cross from Julie Ertz. However, Seattle was awarded two penalties that gave the Reign the victory in the second half, with midfielder Megan Rapinoe converting both.
As it stands, Chicago captain Christen Press leads the league in shots (46) and is second for shots on goal (21). With Mautz’ second goal of the season, all Chicago goal scorers but one has scored at least two goals.
In another midweek match-up, Orlando came from behind to defeat then-third place Sky Blue FC, 3-2. Taking the lead early, Pride’s Chioma Ubogagu scored the first goal, but Sky Blue’s Kelley O’Hara equalized with seconds left before halftime. Within the first minute of the second half, Sky Blue upped their score with a bicycle kick from Samantha Kerr, who was just named NWSL Player of the Month. But Brazilian international Marta and 2017 NWSL College Draft pick Rachel Hill scored the final two Orlando goals to win the match.
The addition of Marta has proved successful for the Pride, quickly earning six goals and three assists, creating many more chances. It will be the attacking force of both teams that will be put to the test in the teams’ first match-up.
The Red Stars and the Pride are nearly neck-and-neck in attacking aspects, with Chicago leading in shots (109-107), but Orlando leading in shots on goal (57-53). Orlando has also been more fortunate on the scoring side, netting 17 goals to Chicago’s 15.
But despite the attacking similarities, Chicago has managed a coveted second place for most of the season, while Orlando has struggled to get out of the bottom five.
Chicago vs. Orlando will kick off Saturday, July 1, at 4 p.m. CT in Orlando City Stadium.