CHICAGO — With their ticket to the NWSL playoffs punched, Chicago wraps up their regular season against the Utah Royals on Saturday, September 28th. The Royals enter the weekend fighting for playoff survival, but with an opportunity to host a playoff game at SeatGeek Stadium still a possibility, Chicago has plenty to play for in their regular-season finale. Here are your keys to the match.
International Magic: Much has been said about the quality of Chicago’s international connection. But in recent weeks, the duo of Yuki Nagasato and Sam Kerr have truly terrorized opposing defenses. In consecutive games, Nagasato has found the back of the net and assisted Kerr. Kerr has returned the favor and played the provider for Nagasato’s sixth and seventh goals of the season in addition to her multi-goal performances that saw her break the single-season goal record she set back in 2017. With their performances, Kerr and Nagasato have topped the NWSL scoring charts. The Aussie superstar is well en route to her third consecutive golden boot with 18 goals on the season, while Nagaasto is the league’s assist leader with eight.
Dial Up Early: The Red Stars wasted no time getting on the scoresheet against Washington last weekend. Kerr’s ninth-minute goal was one of many Chicago has scored early throughout the 2019 season. The Red Stars have scored within the first 15 minutes of a match on ten different occasions. This includes their previous match against the Royals back in August. Once again, it was Kerr who got the offense started with her goal in the fifth minute as the Red Stars would go on to defeat the Royals 2-0.
All the Goals: Two of the best strikers in the league go head-to-head on Saturday. Kerr is the favorite to retain the NWSL Golden Boot with 18 goals in 20 games played this season. Utah’s Amy Rodriguez is also in the top 10 rankings for goals this season, coming in at sixth with eight goals in 2019. In the last three games Utah and Chicago played each other, Rodriguez and Kerr have both scored the game-winning goal for their respective team and both have found the back of the net twice.