After a disappointing season opener against the Houston Dash, the Chicago Red Stars bounced back with a 1-0 victory over the Western New York Flash in their home opener. It was Casey Short who grabbed the game winning goal, which deflected off defender Whitney Erceg for Chicago to give them all three points. It was a relief for the Red Stars as they grabbed their first win of the season.
Now Chicago will look to make it two wins at home against the Orlando Pride, who are the newest franchise in the NWSL.
National team players headline new club Orlando
The Orlando Pride are the newest franchise in the NWSL and have gotten off to a solid start in this season. After losing their opening game 3-1 to the Portland Thorns, they earned their first win in franchise history over Houston. The one win and one loss has helped the Pride move into the 7th spot in the NWSL table, two spots behind the Red Stars.
Orlando has two USWNT players and both have big roles on the team. The main star for Orlando is striker Alex Morgan, who was acquired from the Portland Thorns in exchange for two #1 picks in the expansion draft and the 2016 NWSL Draft, a hefty price for any player. But, Morgan is a game changer and will look to lead Orlando as the key player on the offensive end. She scored against Houston and will look to cause problems against Julie Johnston and a Red Stars backline that played well against Western New York with the shutout.
Another player to look for will be midfielder Lianne Sanderson who scored the game winning goal against Houston. The midfielder from England, who plays for the national team as well, has provided a spark in the middle for Orlando.
"Hopefully we’ll continue in the same vein as we did for the first two games," said Orlando head coach Tom Sermanni to reporters after the game (via Bright House Sports Network).
On the other side Christen Press, who also plays for the USWNT, will lead Chicago and look to grab her second goal of the season. She scored Chicago's first goal of the season and will look to score against Orlando. She will be helped out by a midfield that played well in their last game. The midfield is relatively young and are still learning how to play together, but it has been a good start to the season so far.
Battle of the goalies
This match will pit a matchup of the two backups to Hope Solo on the US Women's National Team. Alyssa Naeher will lead the Red Stars in the back while Ashlyn Harris will guard the goal for Orlando. Both players are on new teams this year but have already shown their worth to the club.