Prior to the Chicago Red Stars’ match against the Portland Thorns, Ella Stevens and Head Coach Chris Petrucelli met with members of the media. The Red Stars travel to Portland this weekend for their second match of the 2022 NWSL Regular Season against the Thorns on Sunday, September 25 at 3:00 p.m. CT at Providence Park. For more on the matchup, check out the match preview.
On changing the team’s approach for the last two games of the NWSL Regular Season (from Claire Watkins)
Ella Stevens: I really think that it’s the same, we just need to focus on ourselves and play our best. We’ve got two games left and we need two wins, and that’s our plan. We’ll just take it a game at a time.
Chris Petrucelli: Yeah, I don’t see any reason to change at this point. We can’t control what happens in the other matches and it’s not going to affect our matches. We’re all aware of where we’re at and we’re all aware of what’s happening in the other games. It’s our league so we know what’s going on. We’re just going to focus on playing Portland and trying to get a win in Portland.
On preparing to face Portland (from Claire Watkins)
Petrucelli: I think one of their strengths is the depth of their roster and their ability to rotate and play different players. I’m not quite sure that we’ll be able to totally pick their lineup will be. I’ve got a pretty good idea that Sophia will probably be in it and she’s probably the one we should be most concerned about. But again, there are things that we can control and that’s how we play. The biggest piece for me is if we can keep the ball, we can limit their opportunities.
On Ella Steven’s in the Red Stars’ lineup (from Claire Watkins)
Stevens: I think it’s an easy midfield to play with. I’d say it’s been good getting more games, more minutes, feeling more comfortable on the ball. I think it’s been good; they make it easier to play and I’m thankful for that.
On team chemistry and mood approaching the end of the season (from Theo Lloyd-Hughes)
Stevens: Yeah, the mood is good. I would say when you get down to the end of the season things get more real, you get more locked in, games matter a lot more than they did at the beginning or the middle. But I’d say overall the mood is really positive. Everyone’s showing up, working hard, just trying to prepare for this next game.
Petrucelli: I think our group is focused on the task at hand and they don’t appear to be any different today than they were last week or anything like that. I think you’re right, it’s very exciting for anyone involved and for our players as well. They understand what’s at stake. But I think it has been business as usual around here.
On the difference between Petrucelli’s playoff experience at other levels (from Theo Lloyd-Hughes)
Petrucelli: Certainly, in the college environment you have that push at the end, whether it’s your conference tournament or NCAA tournament that you’re trying to get into. Or you’re in your conference tournament trying to get into the NCAA tournament. There are certain times you can look at your schedule and say “we only have very few games left and we have to win a good portion of them”, so I think that part is similar; the set-up is a little bit different. You certainly have a crunch towards the end.
On how the NWSL could market the end of the season and the skill of the players (from Theo Lloyd-Hughes)
Stevens: Gosh, I don’t know. I’d say as much media as we could get would be great. Hopefully we can put on a good show and make it that much more exciting. I don’t know about planning it out, I like to see it unfold and it’s usually different from what you’d expect.
Petrucelli: I think it would be great if we had everybody playing at the same time on different networks, I think it would be a great day for everybody involved. When we get down to that last day there’s still going to be eight teams vying for six spots, probably five teams with a chance to win the Shield so it’s going to be exciting.
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