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2019 NWSL Regular Season – Week 14

Chicago Red Stars vs Reign FC

Cheney Stadium. Tacoma, WA

July 28 at 3:00 PM CT

 

CHICAGO — The Chicago Red Stars make their first and final regular-season trip to Cheney Stadium to face playoff rivals Reign FC on Sunday, July 28th at 3:00 PM C.T. 

 

Where to Watch

Stream: Yahoo Sports

 

Opponent Form

Reign FC went on an undefeated stretch of eight games where they collected a total of 18 points before losing to North Carolina two weeks ago. Their unbeaten run came at the cost of midfield lynchpin Jess Fishlock who was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Fishlock was crucial for the Reign during their World Cup player’s absence, leading the team in both goals and assists. The injury-riddled squad has since fought on without her, defeating the league-leading Portland Thorns before succumbing to the Courage in their last game. 

 

Storylines

Spotlight: Reign FC’s World Cup players are expected to make their post-tournament debuts against Chicago on Sunday. U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Allie Long along with England international Jodie Taylor will all be available for Reign FC manager Vlatko Andonovski’s selection, while Megan Rapinoe has been reported out. The four Red Stars U.S. National Team Players featured last weekend in Chicago’s 2-1 win against North Carolina. Each team’s World Cup Champions will face each other one last time in the regular season to decide the series winner. 

Not so Secret: Speaking of Kerr, the Australian international’s play continues to inspire headlines. Last week, live on ESPN2 she scored the game-winning goal in Chicago’s match against North Carolina. Earlier in the month, the league’s all-time leading scorer took home the ESPY’s for Best International Women’s Footballer and Best NWSL Player. This season she leads the NWSL in both goals (10) and shots on goal (27). Dating back to 2016, Kerr has 48 goals and maintains the best shot conversion rate (16.9%) of any player who has at least 10 goals and averages 2.5 shots per game. 

Wall in the Back: The Reign boast the second-best defensive record in the league with their backline leaking in just 11 goals. Only the Utah Royals have allowed less with 10. Reign FC Center back Megan Oyster has been a key player in the spine of the team and was named in June’s NWSL team of the month. Since conceding three to the Red Stars in April, the Reign haven’t allowed more than two goals in a game and have shut their opponent out 3 times. Their low number of goals allowed is all the more impressive when you take account of the number of injuries they’ve suffered.

Ertz so Good: With the return of the captain, Chicago claimed a win over North Carolina to boost them into the top-four. Since 2016, Ertz is one of just five players who have won possession back for her side 7+ times and has made 2+ interceptions per 90 minutes of play (min. 50 games). On top of that, Chicago finds a way to win with her on the field. In every game she has started for Chicago in 2019, the Red Stars have not lost. On top of that, the team averages almost 1.5 goals more per game with Ertz involved from the start.