Red Stars look to stay undefeated at Toyota Park; Chicago to honor Julianne Sitch
SERIES HISTORY: Chicago took the first match-up in 2016 against Seattle, winning 2-1 on the road at Memorial Stadium. Jen Hoy scored a vital brace in the previous match, marking the first away win for Chicago in Seattle in NWSL. Although the overall record of 4-3-3 has been evenly matched between the two clubs, the Red Stars have been more dominant as of late, with the last loss to the Reign dating back to the 2014 season.
SCOUTING SEATTLE REIGN: After a disappointing start to the 2016 season for the back-to-back NWSL Shield Winners, Seattle has been getting themselves back on track in hopes of making a playoff run. Kim Little, who has scored five goals in 2016, leads Seattle but pressure was taken off her with the signing of Japan forward Nahomi Kawasumi. Signing with Seattle in mid-June, Kawasumi has already helped the Reign’s attack, scoring three goals in five matches. However, one of the biggest playmakers in the game has returned to Seattle to help make the playoff push, as Megan Rapinoe made her way back from an ACL tear, scoring in her 2016 debut match vs. Portland last weekend. Defensively, Haley Kopmeyer will look to shutout the Red Stars in net with the help of a strong defensive line in Lauren Barnes and Carson Pickett.
WHERE’S HOPE?: With the absence of Seattle’s #1 goalkeeper Hope Solo, Haley Kopmeyer will receive the nod to start in goal for the Reign. Solo has taken an indefinite leave from the Reign following the announcement of her suspension from U.S. Soccer. Kopmeyer and Andi Tostanoski will hold the goalkeeper positions for the remainder of the 2016 season.
FOUR-GAME WIN STREAK: After Week 16’s result, the Red Stars have the longest current unbeaten streak, with four games, hoping to stretch it to five after their match up against Seattle. Previously in 2016, the Red Stars held an eight-game unbeaten streak between Week 2-9, winning five matches and drawing three.
THREE PLAYERS, THREE GOALS: Earning three points to jump up to third place in the NWSL standings, all three goals in the 3-1 victory over Sky Blue were scored by three different players – Stephanie McCaffrey, Christen Press and Sofia Huerta. Chicago has accomplished this just seven times in four years with the last time happening on June 28, 2015 against Sky Blue FC, where Jen Hoy, Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz each tallied for the Red Stars.
HONORING SITCH: The Chicago will be honoring former Chicago Red Stars defender-midfielder Julianne Sitch today at halftime after a professional career that stretched across 14 years, three countries and various leagues. A Red Stars fan favorite, Sitch had three separate stints with the Red Stars, suiting up for the club during the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) season, the 2012 Women’s Professional Soccer League – Elite (WPSL-E) season, and the 2013 and 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) seasons.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Chicago Red Stars are the only team in the NWSL to remain undefeated at home in the 2016 season. With an overall record of 4-0-3 at playing at Toyota Park, the Red Stars have fully adapted to the pitch at their new stadium. Despite allowing 13 goals so far in 2016, the Red Stars have only conceded two of those at Toyota Park, while scoring eight.
NEXT UP: The Red Stars will be back at Toyota Park in just three nights to face off against FC Kansas City at 7 PM. The match on Wednesday will be the first NWSL game in 2016 to be nationally broadcasted on Fox Sports 1. Get your tickets here.