Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (3-11-2, 11 points) travel to Bridgeview, IL to take on the Chicago Red Stars (9-6-2, 29 points). This is the second of three meetings this season. The Pride lost the previous match-up in Orlando, 3-2. The final meeting will take place on Sept. 11 in Orlando. Chicago sits in second place, but just two points separate the Red Stars from fifth-place Reign FC. The Pride are in last place, two points behind Sky Blue FC. Orlando also has two games in hand over the New Jersey side.
History is not on Orlando’s side in this match-up. The Pride are just 2-6-1 in the all-time series, with both wins happening in 2018. While Chicago got the better of the Pride in the majority of the matches, only once in the all-time series have the Pride lost by more than one goal. In the first five meetings, Orlando went winless but every game was decided by no more than one goal. The first three games were 1-0 score lines, followed by a 2-1 game where the Red Stars went up two goals before Alanna Kennedy scored in the 93rd minute.
Sam Kerr scored a hat trick in the last meeting back on June 30, when the Pride lost 3-2. Chioma Ubogagu scored in the 22nd minute and Marta added a second from the spot. But the story of the game was Orlando turnovers. Kerr did not have to work hard for her goals, as the Pride gifted her the ball in dangerous areas.
Last season, Orlando earned its first victory against the Red Stars, and scored more than one goal against Chicago for the first time on May 2, 2018. Ubogagu scored early, with an assist from Sydney Leroux. Rachel Hill came in off the bench and brought a spark to the Pride, which enabled them to finish off the Red Stars, 2-0.
A few weeks later, the Pride exploded offensively and downed Chicago, 5-2. Hill and Morgan scored early to give the Pride a 2-0 lead but Kerr (who else?) brought Chicago back into it. Kerr scored a brace — both were assisted by Yuki Nagasato — but the Pride bounced right back. Kerr tied the game in the 60th minute and Leroux, who came on in the 52nd minute for Marta, opened her Pride account in the 61st. Two minutes later, Leroux got her brace.
The Pride enter this match every bit the underdogs. They are 18 points behind Chicago, haven’t found the back of the net in 247 minutes, and will be without Marta for the second straight match. The Red Stars have scored 12 more goals than Orlando, allowed 13 fewer goals, and are one of the favorites to win the league.
On a positive note, Morgan got her first game action since the World Cup last week. Orlando fell 2-0 to the Utah Royals, as Morgan played the last 22 minutes. After the match, Skinner said the he “would have liked her earlier” but the team is managing her minutes due to a nagging knee injury. Morgan will likely feature tonight, but again as a substitute. The story after the match was the officiating, as Skinner and the Pride feel the referees unfairly called the Pride’s last two matches.
Chicago will likely come into the match with a chip on its shoulder. The Red Stars had a five-game winning streak before losing to Sky Blue FC a week ago. It was a 2-1 game that Chicago dominated on the stat sheet, and all the goals happened in the final 20 minutes. Paige Monaghan scored her first professional goal in the 71st minute after a great assist from Carli Lloyd. After a desperation kick forward, Kerr got on the end of a ball in the box and tied the game at one in the 91st minute. The drama didn’t end there, though. Seconds later, Monaghan had a great solo effort, scored her second of the night, and won the game for Sky Blue in the 93rd minute.
Obviously, Kerr is the biggest threat that Orlando faces as the forward leads the NWSL with 13 goals. Seven of those goals have come after the World Cup. Nagasato is another player to keep an eye on. She is tied for the most assist in the NWSL (five). Kerr and Nagasato have combined for 11 goals and six assists against Orlando. Of those, Kerr scored four goals and bagged one assist while she was with Sky Blue.
Chicago has three players on its injury report. Alyssa Mautz (right knee), AJ Jahansouz (right knee), and Michele Vasconcelos (right knee) are all out tonight. For Orlando, Alex Morgan is finally off of the injury report. Marta will serve her second, and final, match suspension. Sydney Leroux (maternity), Toni Pressley (45-day DL), and Emily van Egmond (left ankle surgery) are of course all still out. Julie King, after serving a suspension last match, is out with a left ankle injury.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Midfielders: Marisa Viggiano, Alanna Kennedy, Joanna Boyles.
Forwards: Chioma Ubogagu, Rachel Hill, Claire Emslie.
Bench: Haley Kopmeyer, Alex Morgan, Bridget Callahan, Abby Elinsky, Dani Weatherholt, Morgan Reid, Kristen Edmonds.
Chicago Red Stars (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher.
Defenders: Tierna Davidson, Sarah Gorden, Katie Naughton, Casey Short.
Defensive Midfielders: Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz.
Midfielders: Yuki Nagasato, Vanessa DiBernardo, Katie Johnson.
Forward: Sam Kerr.
Bench: Mackenzie Arnold, Nikki Stanton, Danielle Colaprico, Savannah McCaskill, Brooke Elby, Arin Wright, Maria Sánchez.
Ref: Rebecca Pagan.
AR1: Kali Smith.
AR2: Rachel Smith.
4th: Nabil Bensalah.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: SeatGeek Stadium — Bridgeview, IL.
TV: ESPN (International).
Streaming: Yahoo! Sports app (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, ESPN (international).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go Pride!