2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret – Matchday 2
Portland Thorns FC vs Chicago Red Stars
Zions Bank Stadium. Herriman, UT
July 1 at 11:30 AM CT
CHICAGO — The Chicago Red Stars will return to the field at Zions Bank Stadium for their second game in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret when they face the Portland Thorns on Wednesday, July 1 at 11:30 a.m. CT.
Previous Result: Morgan Gautrat scored a goal in the 51st minute for the Red Stars as Chicago dropped their opening game of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup to the Washington Spirit, 2-1.
Opponent: The Portland Thorns dropped their first game of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup last Saturday to the North Carolina Courage 2-1. All three of the games’ goals came in the second half, with Portland’s Simone Charley tapping in a goal to equalize the game in the 80’ minute after North Carolina’s Debinha opened up the scoring just five minutes prior. The Courage would clinch the game late in stoppage time as a Lynn Williams goal saw all three points go North Carolina’s way.
Key Acquisitions: Portland added some young talent and a veteran U.S. National Team player this past offseason. The Thorns began the year by securing the first and second overall selection in 2020 NWSL College Draft, which they used the first to select promising U.S. youth player Sophia Smith. The next pick was used to select Washington State’s Morgan Weaver, who had an impressive run to the 2019 NCAA College Cup. NWSL veteran Raquel Rodriguez came over to bolster the attack. While the team did lose defenders Emily Sonnet and Ellie Carpenter, they were able to acquire two-time World Cup Champion and U.S. WNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
We Meet Again: Tomorrow’s matchup features two franchises with perennial success in making the postseason. The Portland Thorns have reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, making the NWSL Championship in 2017 and 2018. The Red Stars have reached the semifinals in the previous five seasons and reached their first NWSL Championship last year.
Attack Attack: Last Saturday’s game showed a glimpse of the Red Stars’ depth, particularly on the attack. Chicago began the game with three Kealia Watt, Rachel Hill and Yuki Nagasato. Later on, Chicago subbed on Michele Vasconcelos, Katie Johnson, and Savannah McCaskill.
Stanford Starlets: Wednesday morning’s game is not only a matchup between two traditional playoff powerhouses but also two teams with draft success. Both teams have had the #1 overall pick in the last two drafts, both of whom played their college careers at Stanford University. Portland selected forward Sophia Smith with the top pick in this year’s draft, with Chicago bolstering their defense with the #1 overall pick in the 2019 draft with the selection of Tierna Davidson.
Welcome to the Future: In addition to the last two #1 picks in the draft being named to each teams’ Challenge Cup Roster, both teams have members of the last two draft classes looking to make their mark in the NWSL. Portland’s roster holds this year’s #2 overall pick in the draft Morgan Weaver and Emily Ogle (‘19). The Red Stars’ roster includes Bianca St. Georges (‘19) and Zoe Morse (‘20), Kayla Sharples, and Hannah Davision from the 2019 Draft, along with 2020 draftees Camryn Biegalski, Julia Bingham and Ella Stevens.
Welcome to the NWSL: Saturday’s game featured the NWSL debut for two Red Stars. Both Morse and St.Georges earned their first league minutes and start against Washington with both also playing the full 90 minutes. Morse had a team-high 3 clearances and an 87.8% pass accuracy. St. Georges led the team with 10 possessions gained and an impressive 89.1% pass accuracy.