GAME INFORMATION: NWSL Semifinal Match #1 – Washington v. Chicago | September 30 | 7 PM (Central) | Fox Sports 1
SERIES HISTORY: The Red Stars hold a 3-6-1 all-time series record against the Washington Spirit, who finished in second place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings, just one spot above Chicago. Washington and Chicago faced off just six days ago with the Red Stars grabbing the 3-1 victory in the final regular season match of 2016. Crystal Dunn has scored the most in the match-ups against Chicago, tallying three goals for the Spirit. In the 10 matches between the two teams, all but two games have been decided by one goal. The Spirit became one of just four teams to have never earned a point at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON SPIRIT: Finishing in second place with 39 points, the Washington Spirit lost its second match in a row – a record for the team in 2016 – after falling 3-1 in its final regular season match to Chicago. The Spirit have conceded 21 goals, just one more goal than Chicago, thanks in part to both goalkeepers Stephanie Labbe, who has five clean sheets this season, and Kelsey Wys (61 saves), and U.S. WNT defender and Spirit captain Ali Krieger controlling the backline. With 30 total goals for the season, the Spirit have four players with four or more goals, as midfielder Estefania Banini leads the team with five. Reigning Golden Boot winner Crystal Dunn has two goals in 2016, with 37 shots and 14 on goal, but leads the team in assists (5).
RED STARS MILESTONES: With an appearance on Friday night’s semifinal match, Vanessa DiBernardo will earn her 45th consecutive appearance for the Red Stars against Washington Spirit. Having played every match the past two seasons, DiBernardo’s last game sitting out was in her rookie year on July 26, 2014, when the Red Stars faced the Houston Dash.
TOP-NOTCH GOALKEEPERS: During the 20-game regular season this year, with the combination of goalkeepers Alyssa Naeher and Michele Dalton, Chicago has only allowed 20 goals in 2016. The Red Stars conceded the second fewest goals in the league, averaging just one goal per match.
BACK-TO-BACK PLAYOFFS: After earning a 0-0 draw against FC Kansas City last Wednesday, the Red Stars earned a spot in the playoffs for the second year in a row. In 2015, Chicago sealed a spot in the playoffs by finishing the regular season in second place with 33 points, becoming the host city for one of the semifinal matches. Only 11 players on the current Red Stars roster were part of the semifinal game against Kansas City, with 10 of those 11 playing.