Nikki Stanton and the Chicago Red Stars welcome her old team Sky Blue FC to town. The Red Stars are coming off back-to-back wins against Utah and Houston. While, Sky Blue FC are looking for their first points of the season. Jennifer Hoy will make her return to Chicago where she was drafted in 2013. Hoy was involved in the summer’s blockbuster trade that brought Nikki Stanton and Sam Kerr to Chicago and sent Hoy and Janine Beckie to Sky Blue FC.
Colaprico and Huerta show
Red Stars will be looking to extend their winning streak to three. It has been the Danielle Colaprico show the past two Red Star matches. The midfielder has a goal and an assist in the last two games. Last game against Houston, Lauren Kaskie and Sofia Huerta scored their first goals of the season. Huerta is starting to adjust nicely without teammates Julie Ertz and Vanessa Dibernardo who have been dealing with injuries. She has points in 2 of the last 3 matches. Sarah Gorden also had a great game Wednesday, setting up Chicago’s first goal. Gorden and fellow defenders, Katie Naughton and Sam Johnson, will try to frustrate Sky Blue FC forwards. With a healthy Yuki Nagasato, Chicago will have a quicker attack that may give headaches to Sky Blue FC backline. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher looks to extend her clean sheet streak to three games as well.
Chicago will be without Julie Ertz (knee), Casey Short (ankle), Vanessa DiBernardo (pelvis), Rosie White (navicular) and Stephanie McCaffrey (Illness). Sam Kerr will have to wait to face her old Sky Blue FC team. She is still with Australia's Women's National team in the AFC Asian Cup final against Japan.
Sky Blue looking for first points
This season has not been the ideal start for Sky Blue FC. They are still looking for their first goal of the season. In their season opener, they traveled to defending shield winner North Carolina Courage. Sky Blue almost stole a point but North Carolina tallied the game winner in injury time. The next week Sky Blue hosted Seattle Reign FC in a rainy, cold, windy home opener. A handball in the penalty area put Sky Blue down early. Sky Blue could not find a way through Seattle defense and were defeated. Sky Blue lost both matches by the score of 1-0.
Kailen Sheridan has been spectacular in net for Sky Blue. She has only let in two goals in two matches. One of which was a penalty shot by USWNT star Megan Rapinoe. Sheridan arguably had the NWSL “save of the week” when she stopped, England International, Jodie Taylor on a penalty shot. Sky Blue defenders are going to have to slow the play down by holding possession and force Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to come off her line as much as possible. It is hard to understand how Sky Blue have zero goals this season with offensive weapons like Carli Lloyd, Raquel Rodriguez, Janine Beckie, Adriana Leon and Shea Groom. These players must find a way to test an at times shaky Naeher. They certainly do not want to start the season with three losses let alone goal-less in their first three matches. It will be interesting to see if Hoy gets the start in her return to Chicago.
Sky Blue players out with injuries will be Amandine Pierre-Louis (tibia/fibula) Domi Richardson (illness) and Erin Simon (foot). On Brazilian international duty is Thaisa Moreno.
The Chicago Red Stars host Sky Blue FC at Toyota Park on Saturday, April 21. Kickoff is scheduled at 8 pm Eastern and can be streamed on go90 app and go90.com