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CHICAGO — The Chicago Red Stars conclude their regular-season series with the Houston Dash at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday, September 8 at 5 PM. With Chicago currently in third place and Houston only six points away from a playoff spot, both teams enter this game right in the middle of the playoff push. Here are the keys to the match. 

Rise and Shine: Chicago has struck early in their previous matchups against Houston. Sam Kerr scored a brace in 13 minutes to give the Red Stars a 2-1 win over the Dash back in May. Two months later Chicago took the early lead again, this time courtesy of Katie Johnson’s seventh-minute goal and earn the Red Stars a 1-0 win over Houston. In 2019, Chicago has scored a goal within the first 20 minutes of a game on eight occasions and took home the three points in all but one of those games.  

Boom Goes the Dynamite: Chicago and Houston both feature an offensive attack that can light it up any given game. Houston’s attack of Kealia Ohai, Sofia Huerta, and England international Rachel Daly have scored 11 goals this season including five game-winning goals for the Dash in 2019. Chicago’s international connection of Yuki Nagasato and Sam Kerr continues to prosper for the Red Stars in their second year. Kerr once again leads the league with 13 goals in 16 games, while Nagasato is tied for the NWSL lead in assists with five while reaching an NWSL career-high five goals this season as well. 

You Shall Not Pass: It will be another marquee goalkeeper matchup for the NWSL this Sunday when Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher matches up with Houston’s Jane Campbell. Naeher’s heroics at the World Cup are widely-known, but the U.S. WNT goalkeeper is having another productive season in Chicago, earning three clean sheets along with 27 saves in nine NWSL games played in 2019. Campbell has played every game with the Dash this season and has placed herself as a contender for the league’s best goalkeeper. Her 50 saves and five clean sheets are both third-most in the league, and Houston has only won twice without Campbell earning a shutout this season.