Seattle Reign vs Chicago Red Stars preview: A battle too close to call

This Wednesday sees the Seattle Reign play host to the in-form Chicago Red Stars - a matchup which always throws up some interesting games.

The record between these teams is incredibly tight, with the Red Stars just edging the head-to-head stats with five wins to Seattle's three, with the teams sharing four ties all-time. However, the Red Stars have won just once in six attempts in Seattle - although this victory did come in the most recent visit when Jen Hoy's brace saw them win 2-1 last May, ending the Reign's two plus year unbeaten streak at Memorial Stadium.

The most recent game between the two sides ended in a 1-0 home victory for the Red Stars, although the score probably should have been greater as they outshot their opponents by 21 to 10. 

Katie Johnson of Seattle Reign (left) battles with Julie Ertz of the Chicago Red Stars. Source: The Bold
Katie Johnson of Seattle Reign (left) battles with Julie Ertz of the Chicago Red Stars | Source: The Bold

Seattle in a strange run of form

The Seattle Reign have been off the pace in recent matches as they are without a win in the last month, picking up two ties and a loss in that time. 

This being said, Seattle can take great positivity from their 1-1 tie against FC Kansas City on Saturday as they played all but four minutes with ten players after Lauren Barnes saw red early on. They also went a goal down but battled back to claim a well-earned point. This kind of stubbornness will be needed on Wednesday if the Reign is to take all three points.

Although the Reign have the most productive offense so far this season, I wouldn't be surprised if Haley Kopmeyer was in the middle of the action in this game - one of the league's best goalkeeping talents, Kopmeyer was easily the star of the show in the sides' most recent match in Chicago.

Big test for Chicago

This is certainly a big test for the impressive-looking Chicago side; they are currently on an eight-game unbeaten streak but the Reign always seem to offer a different kind of threat, with their possession style of soccer challenging backlines in ways they aren't used to. Chicago centre-back Sam Johnson had a poor game by her standards on Sunday against Sky Blue FC, and she'll have to be back on top form to nullify the threats posed by the likes of Nahomi Kawasumi and Megan Rapinoe.

Taylor Comeau (right) was key in the last match between the two sides. Source: The Bold
Taylor Comeau (right) was key in the last match between the two sides | Source: The Bold

The Red Stars will certainly be expecting to get on the board in this game, with the likes of Vanessa DiBernardo and Sofia Huerta both in a fine vein of form having grabbed a goal each against Sky Blue. Christen Press is also always a threat, and this match could see Lauren Kaskie given a proper run out after she made her debut last week.

Both teams missing key players

After the red card for reigning NWSL Defender of the Year Barnes at the weekend, Seattle will have to make some unwanted changes to their team. With three games in a week, this could be the perfect opportunity for rookie Maddie Bauer to make her NWSL debut.

Seattle isn't the only team missing key players though, as Chicago was dealt a blow when it was confirmed that Danielle Colaprico will miss the match with a sprained ankle sustained on Saturday. Before coming off during that game, she had played every minute of the Red Stars season. It would be interesting to see Morgan Proffitt out of Marquette make her first start for the team, although Taylor Comeau is the more likely replacement.

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