Take Out a Pencil
This week’s match against the Portland Thorns will certainly be a test for the struggling Chicago side. The Thorns lead the league in goals scored (18), assists (12), shots (108) and shots on goal (55). In individual stats, forward Sophia Smith leads the league in assists (5), shots (30) and shots on goal (20). The forward is in the top five NWSL players in goals (4), tied with fellow teammate, Crystal Dunn (4). Despite Portland’s impressive offensive abilities, the Thorns are 0-1-2 in their last three regular-season games. Despite Chicago’s lackluster results, the team is tied with Angel City FC for fourth in the league when it comes to regular-season goals (11) and ranks fifth in the league in total shots on goal (31).
A Record-Setting Night
The May 12 match against Racing Louisville FC was a record-setting night for goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. After making the start, Naeher became the first goalkeeper in the NWSL to reach 150 regular-season appearances. Naeher also reached the 500 saves milestone during the match against Louisville, making her only the second keeper in league history to reach 500 saves. Despite the lopsided final score, the Connecticut native made nine saves in the match, making it Naeher’s second highest total saves in a single match. Her highest single match saves total came in 2018 against North Carolina when she made 11 saves against the Courage. Naeher’s saves so far this season total 24, ranking the keeper fifth in the league for saves made. Only five saves separate Naeher and Louisville’s Katie Lund, who currently holds the top spot with 29 saves.
Flying under the radar, Arin Wright has been key for Chicago so far this season, starting every match the Red Stars have played in 2023. The defender has not logged a passing percentage below 60 in any Challenge Cup or regular season match, averaging a 75.7% passing accuracy in the regular season. In regular season play, the Kentucky native is the only defender to both start every match and score a goal. In the first Challenge Cup match of 2023, Wright had more touches on the ball than any other Red Star. Seven matches into the regular season, the defender is tied for third in shots (6) and shots on target (3), boasting a 50% shot accuracy percentage. A steady force during her time in Chicago, Wright has logged 139 regular-season appearances in a Red Stars jersey, the most of any active field player. Alyssa Naeher is the only active player to record more regular season appearances, collecting her 150th on May 12.