Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between the Orlando Pride (5-6-4, 19 points) and the NWSL-leading Chicago Red Stars (8-3-4, 28 points) at Orlando City Stadium. This is the third and final of three scheduled meetings between the two sides.
The Pride are coming off a 2-1 loss at Chicago on July 22 just prior to the international break. Orlando played well for the most part but was beaten over the top twice on balls to Christen Press, who made no mistakes on her 1-v-1 chances against Pride keeper Aubrey Bledsoe. It was the first game between the two sides that didn’t end up 1-0, and the Pride finally scored a goal on the Red Stars, with Alanna Kennedy fizzing one home late in the game.
Orlando is 3-2-1 at home this season, while the Red Stars are 2-0-2 in their last four games overall and 2-3-2 on the road in 2017, including a 1-0 win in Orlando on a late Press penalty kick on July 1.
Orlando dropped both match-ups in 2016. Press scored in the 65th minute to give Chicago a 1-0 home win on May 1 of last year. In the rematch in Orlando on July 16, Taylor Comeau’s header on a Sofia Huerta cross was the difference in the Red Stars’ second 1-0 win of the series.
“We know what to expect from Chicago. They’re very direct, very robust, a very physical team and very well disciplined in defense so they are tough to break down,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “They play the ball forward early, they make early forward runs and they hit you quickly in transition. Those are the areas we need to make sure we are aware of, and, at the same time, make the most of the chances we’ve created.”
It will be a difficult task to predict which players will be available for the two teams, as both have several international stars involved in the Tournament of Nations, which wrapped up late Thursday night on the West Coast. Orlando had seven players involved for three different teams, while Chicago featured four players on the U.S. squad (Press, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defender Casey Short, and defender/midfielder Julie Ertz). Huerta also trained with the U.S. group, although she’s not yet eligible to play with the USWNT.
Marta sat out Brazil’s final ToN match with a foot issue, while Camila and Monica went the full 90. Steph Catley went 90 for Australia but Alanna Kennedy subbed on in the 72nd minute so she may be available for Sermanni. Jill Ellis started all four Red Stars players Thursday night in Carson, CA, while Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger were on the bench. Ertz was the first of the Chicago starters to come off, in the 54th minute, but she took a knock and wasn’t walking well when she was subbed off. Press came off in the 73rd minute for Morgan, who finished out the game. Krieger did not play. Naeher and Short went 90.
If I were to guess about the U.S. players, Naeher might be available but Short and Ertz may not be, while Press might be a second-half sub. Krieger would be available most likely, and perhaps Morgan off the bench. Kennedy may be available but Catley is unlikely. Neither Monica nor Camila is probable to play and with Marta it depends on her foot.
Ashlyn Harris (right quad) is listed as out on the NWSL injury report but she should be just about back for Orlando as soon as she regains fitness.
“While we’re eager to get Ashlyn back, Aubrey has not only been phenomenal in goal but has made it so Ashlyn can take her time in the rehab process and make sure she gets back to absolute 100 percent,” Sermanni said. “We also look at this from a situational perspective. If this were a championship match, Ashlyn could step in but we have three games this week and a high chance of a new back four that she’s never worked with.”
Chicago will be without Head Coach Rory Dames, who was sent off at halftime of the July 22 meeting. The Red Stars have no players listed on their injury report.
Orlando Pride (4-4-2)
I’m not even going to pretend to be able to pick a bench this week. The starting XIs are pretty much guesswork too after the Tournament of Nations. I’ve got Ali Krieger in here as she sat the bench for all of the USWNT’s first couple of ToN games.
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe.
Defenders: Chioma Ubogagu, Toni Pressley, Ali Krieger, Kristen Edmonds.
Midfielders: Jamia Fields, Maddy Evans, Dani Weatherholt, Rachel Hill.
Forwards: Alex Morgan, Jasmyne Spencer.
Bench: Caroline Stanley, Marta, Camila, Danica Evans, Nickolette Driesse, Alanna Kennedy.
Chicago Red Stars (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher.
Defenders: Arin Gilliland, Sam Johnson, Kathleen Naughton, Taylor Comeau.
Midfielders: Sarah Gorden, Danielle Colaprico Alyssa Mautz.
Forwards: Jennifer Hoy, Vanessa DiBernardo, Sofia Huerta.
Bench: Michele Dalton, Julie Ertz, Stephanie McCaffrey, Morgan Proffitt, Summer Green, Lauren Kaskie, Mary Luba.
Ref: Katja Koroleva.
AR1: Adrienne McDonald.
AR2: Matthew Osterhouse.
4th: Janessa Gunn.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: go90.com, go90 iOS and Android app (in the U.S.), NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app (outside the U.S.).
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