After drawing two games straight, the Chicago Red Stars finally walked out of a game with all three points. Chicago hammered the Boston Breakers 3-0 at Toyota Park this weekend. It was a battle between one of the top teams in the NWSL and one of the teams at the bottom of the table and it looked like it. The Red Stars controlled the game from the beginning and never looked back. Sofia Huerta scored in the 3rd minute to get Chicago rolling and they never stopped. Now the Red Stars will travel to Portland, where they face a Portland Thorns team that hasn't lost all season. This will be a matchup between the first place and second place team in the NWSL table.
Chicago looks to send off stars in style
This will be the last game for USWNT members Christen Press, Julie Johnston, and Alyssa Naeher as confirmed by Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. Chicago will be looking to send their stars off in the perfect way. With a win.
Johnston and Naeher both helped the defense earn another shutout against Boston as they didn't allow the Breakers to garner any major chances. Much of that was due to the lack of offensive from Boston but credit should still be given to Chicago's defense as well. There were no sloppy turnovers or fouls that gave Boston chances on goal. Meanwhile, Press failed to get on the scoring act on the other side of the ball for Chicago. It was strange to see the leading scorer not get into the act but for Chicago, it actually could be a positive.
The Red Stars won't have Press up top playing striker when the Olympics begin and the team have to adjust to her absence. They played very well last year when she left for the World Cup and they are likely to adjust well again. Behind the likes of Huerta, Jen Hoy, Vanessa DiBernado, and Danielle Colaprico, Chicago has a great core of their midfield and forwards left on the team. Put winger Alyssa Mautz into the equation and Chicago is still one of the best offensive teams in the NWSL despite losing their top scorer.
Portland looking to remain unbeaten
While the Red Stars may be top of the league and on an unbeaten streak, the Thorns still haven't lost a game through Week 9 of the season. They will be looking to go top of the table with a win over the Red Stars.
The last time these two teams played, it was a 1-1 draw in which both goals were a wacky type of plays. This time, both will be looking for a much cleaner game.
This looks like it will be the last game for Tobin Heath before she departs of Olympic duty. Heath was effective against Chicago the last time they met and gave right back Casey Short problems running down the right flank. She provided good service down the wing and her ability to break her defender down from the wing is key to Portland's offense. Heath also displayed her playmaking skills, including one time when she cut through the entire Chicago defense but her final pass was just too much for her teammate to get on to. If Chicago wants to have an easier time in this game, they will have to do a much better time marking Heath.