After a two week hiatus, the Chicago Red Stars will be back in action at Toyota Park. The Red Stars will look to make it seven games unbeaten as they haven't lost a game since their opening match against the Houston Dash, a game in which they lost 3-1. Thanks to that unbeaten run, Chicago now sits atop of the NWSL table along with the Washington Spirit, who are tied with the Red Stars on points. Chicago can go top of the table once again with a win.
In their last game, the Red Stars earned another draw, a 1-1 result against Sky Blue FC. Without their trio of USWNT players in Julie Johnston, Christen Press, and Alyssa Naeher, Chicago searched for production from elsewhere. It came from Sofia Huerta who scored the opening goal for CRS. But it was wiped out by an equalizer by Sky Blue FC in the second half. But nonetheless, the Red Stars were pleased with the result considering they were missing their big three players. They will certainly need them against the Portland Thorns FC.
Portland looking to remain unbeaten on the season
Portland hasn't lost a single game this season but still find themselves third in the NWSL. They are a point behind Chicago and Washington and could go top of the table if they grab a win in this fixture. In their most recent game, Portland drew 0-0 with defending champions Seattle Reign. The result was sort of a letdown for Portland, especially after their win against Washington, but a point is a point.
The Thorns feature some national team players as Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath. Both are league leaders as Heath's five assists top the NWSL while Horan's three goals are tied for first in the NWSL. Heath will be the biggest threat for Chicago to worry about. She has developed into one of the top wingers in the league and for her country, scoring in the World Cup final last year. Heath will play the role of a playmaker down the wing and it will be key for Chicago's fullbacks to keep a close eye on her. They have to be smart when pushing forward in attack knowing that a turnover will give Heath a ton of open space to exploit.
Chicago gets their stars back
The big addition on offense for Chicago will be the return of Christen Press. She is the focal point on offense and everything runs through her. Press has scored three goals for the Red Stars this season and will be the biggest worry for the Thorns. Due to the attention, she will warrant by the defense, the second striker next to Press will be key as well. Whether that be Huerta or Jen Hoy, one of them should look to take advantage of some open space on the wings or make a good run when Press draws in the defense.