NJNY: New Jersey/New York were shutout 2-0 on the road in Louisville
CHI: Chicago fell just short of a comeback in a 3-2 loss to Portland at home
By the Numbers
Both Gotham and the Red Stars want to soften the blow of their last losses with a win, but the Red Stars are certainly the team hungrier for the W. With only three wins this season, Chicago sits in 11th place in the league standings once again, and time is running out to climb the ranks and secure a playoff berth. On paper, Chicago is the better team, outdoing Gotham in goals (16 to 13), assists (8 to 7), passing percentage (76.3 to 73.8) and percentage of successful tackles (66.1 to 61.7) but Gotham has produced better results than Chicago, holding a 5-4-3 record over Chicago’s 3-8-1. While New Jersey/New York took home three points in their last meeting with Chicago Saturday, May 6, that is the only win Gotham have over the teams’ last five meetings, of which Chicago boasts three shutouts over New Jersey/New York and a scoreless draw. Additionally, Gotham FC have only won one of their last five matches (LDLDW) and one of their last five home games (LDWL). In comparison, the Red Stars have two wins in their last five matches (LLWWL) and won their last match on the road. Only time will tell whether the Red Stars can make reality reflect the numbers on the pages.
Bright Lights, Big Names
The Chicago and New Jersey/New York rosters boast six international players recently named to 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup squads, in part because of their recent club performance. Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher and Gotham’s Kristie Mewis, Kelley O’Hara and Lynn Willams will represent the United States in the World Cup. Additionally, Gotham’s Sinead Farrelly and Ifeoma Onumonu were called up by Ireland and Nigeria, respectively. Five others have represented their countries on the international level in the last year: Chicago’s Jill Aguilera (Puerto Rico), Julia Bianchi (Brazil) and Bianca St-Georges (Canada) and Gotham’s Bruinha (Brazil) and Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir (Iceland). The deep talent pools on both sides are sure to impress at Red Bull Arena.
Red Stars defender, Kayla Sharples, recently took the field for the first time in 2023 in Chicago’s UKG Challenge Cup match against Louisville Wednesday, May 31. Since returning from injury, Sharples has appeared in two Challenge Cup and two regular-season matches, an invigorating presence on Chicago’s back line that the Red Stars have missed. Despite being on limited minutes, in Challenge Cup play, Sharples has won every tackle she’s made (3), won 62.5 percent of her duels, collected 68.0 percent passing accuracy and recorded eight clearances and one interception. In regular-season play, the defender already has a 68.8 percent passing accuracy, three clearances, two interceptions and one block in only 83 minutes played. As fellow Red Star, Arin Wright, recently said, whatever Sharples has in store, it’s sure to be a plus for Chicago.