Keys to the Game: Chicago Red Stars vs Washington Spirit

CHICAGO — The Red Stars return home for their final two games of the regular season, starting with a matchup against the Washington Spirit on Saturday, September 21. Kickoff from SeatGeek Stadium is scheduled for 7pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago. Here are your keys to the match. 

Here Comes Trouble: It’s not just a nickname, the duo of Yuki Nagasato and Casey Short truly cause trouble for opponents. Nagasato has three goals in her last four games against the Spirit, including the game-winning header in both teams’ previous meeting last month. Short was the one who provided the perfect cross for the goal for one of her three assists on the season, two of which have led to Nagasato goals. The duo got on the scoresheet last week as Nagasato scored the final goal in Chicago’s 3-0 win over Sky Blue Sunday and Short delivered a vital game-winner in the 95th minute against Orlando. 

Break Down the Walls: Washington’s Audrey Bledsoe is a prime candidate for the Goalkeeper of the Year award thanks to an impressive 2019 season. Bledsoe has played all 19 games for the Spirit and is second in the NWSL with 91 saves. Against the Red Stars in May she made seven saves and shut out the Chicago offense. In two games against Chicago this season, Bledsoe has made nine saves and conceded one goal.  

Yin and Yang: Saturday will be a matchup of a Chicago offense that loves to strike early and a Washington defense that doesn’t usually allow early slip-ups. Chicago’s offense has scored within the first 20 minutes of a game on 10 separate occasions. On the other hand, Washington’s defense has only conceded in that same time span twice all season but conceded four goals across the two games they were broken down early.

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