Red Stars to kick off new campaign with blockbuster clash
CHICAGO, Ill. – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced the schedule of home openers for the 2015 season, with the Red Stars kicking off on April 18 against giants of the game Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe, Kim Little and the rest of reigning regular season champion Seattle Reign’s illustrious roster.
There won’t be a shortage of drama surrounding the blockbuster meeting. Chicago was one of the few teams able to match up with Seattle last year, as Head Coach Rory Dames’ squad finished the season with a 1-1-1 record against the Reign.
After a 3-1 away defeat in early June, the Red Stars squared off with their mighty opponents again a month later, faced with the tall order of stopping a Seattle side riding a 16-game unbeaten streak. A gritty, passionate and determined 90 minutes later, Chicago had accomplished the feat, registering a hard-fought 1-0 victory in front of their own faithful, who had weathered the relentless rain at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex.
About a week later, the Reign were unable to avenge the defeat in front of their home fans when they were held to a 1-1 draw by a well-organized Red Stars side.
Seattle boasts one of the most star-studded rosters in the NWSL. In addition to U.S. national team stars Solo, Leroux and Rapinoe, the starting lineup of the third-year franchise is also expected to feature 2014 Golden Boot winner and league MVP Kim Little, Welsh midfield maestro Jess Fishlock, Japanese attacking ace Nahomi Kawasumi and Canadian international Carmelita Moscato.
Despite the quality of the opposition, the Red Stars have no reason to be intimidated, as Head Coach Dames has at his disposal his own quartet of U.S. national teamers in club captain Lori Chalupny, veteran Shannon Boxx, up-and-comer Julie Johnston and 2014 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year finalist Christen Press.
In addition, the Red Stars roster features four Canadian internationals spearheaded by legendary goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and completed by defender Rachel Quon and forwards Melissa Tancredi and Adriana Leon. New Zealand captain Abby Erceg further contributes to the massive World Cup implications of the matchup between Seattle and Chicago.
The NWSL will take a brief two-week break during the World Cup group stage.
Season tickets for the upcoming Chicago Red Stars campaign start at $145. They may be purchased by calling 773-697-8699 or by clicking here.
Six of the nine clubs in the league will be in action on opening weekend, with the first match being played on April 10 between Houston Dash and Washington Spirit. On Saturday, April 11, Portland Thorns takes on Boston Breakers and Seattle Reign faces Western New York Flash.
In Week 2, Chicago and Seattle are joined in the lineup of games by Sky Blue FC against Houston Dash and Washington Spirit against FC Kansas City. All three matches take place on Saturday, April 18. The final two home openers will feature Boston Breakers and Houston Dash on Sunday, April 26, and a meeting between Western New York Flash and Boston Breakers on Saturday, May 2.
The 2015 regular season culminates in the middle of September and will be followed by the playoffs, which will be comprised of two semifinal matches on the weekend of September 12-13 and the championship match on the weekend of September 26-27 to avoid potential FIFA dates.
Additional information on times for these games and others will be revealed in the coming weeks as part of the complete regular season schedule announcement.
Dates and matchups for the 2015 home openers are listed below (home teams listed first).
2015 NWSL HOME OPENERS
All matches subject to change
THURSDAY, APRIL 9
FC Kansas City vs. Sky Blue FC (TBD)
FRIDAY, APRIL 1O
Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit (BBVA Compass Stadium)
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
Portland Thorns FC vs. Boston Breakers (Providence Park)
Seattle Reign FC vs. Western New York Flash (Memorial Stadium)
SATURDAY, APRIL 18
Chicago Red Stars vs. Seattle Reign FC (Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex)
Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash (Yurcak Field)
Washington Spirit vs. FC Kansas City (Maryland Soccer Plex)
SUNDAY, APRIL 26
Boston Breakers vs. Houston Dash (Harvard Stadium)
SATURDAY, MAY 2
Western New York Flash vs. Boston Breakers (Sahlen’s Stadium)