NCC: The North Carolina Courage lost to Portland Thorns FC 2-1
CHI: The Chicago Red Stars fell to the Orlando Pride 5-0
Call in the Calvary
The Chicago Red Stars head to Cary, NC, looking to even up the season series against the North Carolina Courage who handed the Red Stars a decisive loss in June. Behind a hat trick from forward, Kerolin, the Courage walked out of SeatGeek Stadium with a 0-5 win against the home Red Stars, who are coming off another 5-0 loss against the Orlando Pride. Following the conclusion of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, both teams will have reinforcements as players selected to participate in the World Cup return to their clubs. Representing the Courage at the World Cup: Emily Fox and Casey Murphy (U.S.A.); Denise O’Sullivan (Ireland); Kerolin Nicoli (Brazil) and; Rikke Madsen and Mille Gejl (Denmark). The Red Stars were represented by Alyssa Naeher (U.S.A.) and Cheyna Matthews (Jamaica).
Including this weekend’s match, the Red Stars only have six games left to earn as many points as possible and try for another playoff berth. As defender Arin Wright expressed, “Every game matters.” The club currently sits at the bottom of the table with 16 points and their remaining schedule features matchups against three out of the top five teams in the league. Mathematically, there are 18 points up for grabs in the remaining six matches, which if the Red Stars earn all 18, could put them in contention for the postseason. While that seems like a long shot, any NWSL fan will tell you that this league is unpredictable, so buckle up Red Stars fans. This is where things get interesting.
The Stars in North Carolina
This is Chicago’s first trip to North Carolina, but it’s not unfamiliar territory to a few current Red Stars. Forward, Ella Stevens, and midfielder, Sophie Jones, both spent their collegiate years in North Carolina playing for Duke University where they both earned various recognitions in their distinguished careers. Also holding ties to North Carolina is midfielder, Cari Roccaro, who spent four years with the Courage (2018-2021) and helped them win two NWSL Championships. Rounding out the Red Stars with ties to North Carolina is head coach, Chris Petrucelli. Petrucelli played college soccer at the University of North Carolina Greensboro where he won two NCAA Division III national titles and captained the team as a senior.