Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (4-4-5, 17 points) take on the Chicago Red Stars (6-5-2, 20 points) in Bridgeview, IL. This is the first of three scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and the first since 2019. The Pride will return to SeatGeek Stadium on Oct. 2 and the Red Stars will visit Orlando on Oct. 29 in the Pride’s regular season finale.
The Pride are 3-7-1 against the Red Stars, dating back to the team’s inaugural 2016 season. All three Pride wins have come at SeatGreek Stadium, where the two teams will face off tonight. While the Red Stars have won seven match-ups, only one of those seven games was decided by more than one goal.
The last time the two teams faced off was in 2019. The most recent game between the two teams came on Sept. 11, 2019 in Orlando. It was a late winner for the Red Stars as Casey Short scored five minutes into second-half injury time, stealing the 1-0 win for Chicago.
On June 30, 2019 in Orlando, the Pride lost 3-2. Chioma Ubogagu and Marta both scored but it was the Sam Kerr show as the Australian star netted a hat trick. The Pride got revenge in the rematch on Aug. 21 of that season in Bridgeview. Rachel Hill and Ubogagu scored on either side of the half, lifting the Pride to a 2-1 win.
The best year for the Pride against the Red Stars came in 2018, when they won two of the three games, both in Bridgeview. The first was a 2-0 win on May 2 with goals coming from Ubogagu and Hill. On May 26, the Pride jumped out to a quick two-goal lead through Hill and Alex Morgan inside 10 minutes. Sydney Leroux and Kerr both netted braces in the game for their respective teams as the Pride won 5-2.
The final match-up that season came on Aug. 25 in Orlando and was the only time the Pride dropped points against the Red Stars that year. The teams looked to be going into the break scoreless, but a 44th-minute goal by Kerr and an injury-time goal by Vanessa DiBernardo gave the visitors a 2-0 lead. Morgan got one back for the Pride in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as the Red Stars won 3-1.
The first two games between the teams in 2017 were dominated by Christen Press. On July 1, 2017 in Orlando, the Red Stars won 1-0 through a Press goal in the 68th minute. On July 22 in Bridgeview, Alanna Kennedy gave the Pride their first goal against Chicago, but it was too little, too late as Press had already netted a brace, resulting in a 2-1 Red Stars win.
The final match-up in 2017 saw the Pride claim their first point against the Red Stars in five tries. Morgan started the scoring in the 24th minute. However, Sofia Huerta equalized for the visitors in the 53rd minute, as the Pride came away with a 1-1 draw.
The first match-up between the two teams was on May 1, 2016 in Bridgeview, a 1-0 win for the hosts. A Press goal in the 65th minute was the difference. The return game on July 16 at Camping World Stadium ended in the same result, but this time it was a Taylor Comeau goal in the 23rd minute.
Tonight’s game will be the team’s second under interim head coach Becky Burleigh. This is the coach’s second week in charge, allowing her to start implementing her style and culture on the team.
The most recent outing for the Pride was a 1-1 draw at North Carolina. Leroux gave the Pride the lead in the 50th minute, but the Courage struck right back with a 52nd-minute goal by Brittany Ratcliffe. The draw ended a two-game losing streak, but the Pride have still not won since their 3-1 victory seven games ago in Kansas City.
A positive is that the Pride are getting their Olympians back, which should be a big boost. The recent slide began with a 2-1 loss in Houston on June 26, the last game before the Olympians started departing. Ali Riley and Marta have already returned and trained with the team at the end of this week. Morgan and Erin McLeod will be rejoining the team soon.
While the Pride have struggled recently, the Red Stars have won three of their last four games, lifting the team into third in the NWSL. Their recent form includes a 2-1 win over the Dash and 3-1 wins over OL Reign and the Washington Spirit last week.
“I think that Chicago wants to play also,” Burleigh said about the upcoming game. “They’ve got some great possession players. If you look at a lot of their midfield especially, that’s what I feel like makes them tick. And then clearly they have some terrific athletes up top that can stretch you. So for us it’s going to be a willingness of us to keep possession against their midfield, but also deal with their athletes that they have up top.”
The Pride’s injury list is almost the same as it was last week. Jade Moore (left knee) continues to recover and Carrie Lawrence (right ankle) is still unable to play in games. The only addition is Viviana Villcorta, the club’s 2021 NWSL College Draft pick, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in February.
While Morgan and McLeod have yet to return from Tokyo, that status for Riley and Marta is still unclear. The two rejoined training this week and Burleigh said it depends on how they feel heading into the weekend. For now, they’re both listed as questionable.
Several Red Stars played in the Olympics with the United States and are out for this game. That includes Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Tierna Davidson, and Casey Krueger. Additionally, Vanessa DiBernardo is out with a head injury.
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Ashlyn Harris.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Amy Turner, Ali Krieger, Ali Riley.
Midfielders: Marisa Viggiano, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jonsdottir.
Forwards: Marta, Sydney Leroux, Jodie Taylor.
Bench: Brittany Wilson, Ally Haran, Phoebe McClernon, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom, Erika Tymrak, Taylor Kornieck, Chelsee Washington, Crystal Thomas.
Chicago Red Stars (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Cassie Miller.
Defenders: Alyssa Mautz, Sarah Gorden, Kayla Sharples, Tatumn Milazzo.
Defensive Midfielders: Daniele Colaprico, Sarah Woldmoe.
Midfielders: Mallory Pugh, Morgan Gautrat, Kealia Watt.
Forwards: Rachel Hill.
Bench: Emily Boyd, Makenzy Doniak, Ella Stevens, Nikki Stanton, Zoe Morse, Zoey Goralski, Katie Johnson, Bianca St. Georges, Sarah Luebbert.
REF: Luis Guardia.
AR1: Meghan Mullen.
AR2: Tiffini Turpin.
4TH: Erin Patterson.
How to Watch
Match Time: 6 p.m.
Venue: SeatGeek Stadium — Bridgeview, IL.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the Match. Go Pride!