This Saturday, July 1, sees the Orlando Pride meet the Chicago Red Stars for the first time this year. The last meeting was almost a year ago, last July, when the visiting Chicago team took a 1-0 victory in Orlando thanks to a headed goal from Taylor Comeau - her first and so far only goal for the club. Comeau will likely play a big part in Saturday’s match, with Danielle Colaprico out injured still.
The only other matchup between the sides was also a 1-0 result in favor of Chicago, with Christen Press bagging the game-winner in front of a season-high Toyota Park crowd in May 2016.
Orlando looking for an upset
However the Pride are a very different outfit from last time around - only four of those who started that game in 2016 (Kristen Edmonds, Jamia Fields, Toni Pressley, and Dani Weatherholt) were also in the starting lineup for Orlando in their match this past Wednesday. All three goalscorers from midweek (Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, and Rachel Hill) are all new additions, and other star names from home and abroad, such as Ali Krieger and Alanna Kennedy, have also been added since.
After going winless through their first four games, Orlando has really pulled together and now sit just two points out of the playoff spots, with a game in hand over their closest rivals, Sky Blue FC. A great deal of this resurgence is rightly accredited to the addition of Marta, who’s tallied six goals and three assists in her ten appearances.
Despite the Red Stars being above the Pride in the league table, the home side should see themselves in with a very good chance of taking all three points. The midweek victory over Sky Blue really showcased the attacking prowess of this Orlando side, and they will have a good chance against a Red Stars team who have logged over 5000 air miles in eight days by the end of this weekend.
Red Stars needing to bounce back
The Red Stars saw their seven-match unbeaten streak snapped in Seattle on Wednesday, as two Megan Rapinoe penalties gave the Seattle Reign a 2-1 victory. Despite the scoreline though, Chicago can find many positives, including the performances from both Comeau and goalscorer Alyssa Mautz, who are usually bounced in and out of the starting lineup but looked really strong, and the call on the match-winning penalty looked dubious; they will feel the performance was worthy of a point.
Red Stars fans will be hoping that Mautz continues her good form against a Pride team who, despite the good form, have still conceded six goals in their last three matches.
The match is being played at the Orlando City Stadium, with kick-off set for 5:00 PM ET.