After a draw for both teams over the weekend, Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride will look to get back into the win column this week. This will be the first of three meetings between the Red Stars and Pride in 2018. The Red Stars are coming off a Saturday night 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit. This match against the Pride will be the second of three matches for the Chicago Red Stars in seven days. Chicago will travel to North Carolina Courage this weekend. Orlando Pride are also coming off a 1-1 draw in last weekend’s match against Seattle Reign FC and are currently tied with Washington in the fifth spot of the NWSL standings. This will be the only match for the Orlando Pride this week and the first of a three game road swing. Orlando has never beat Chicago in their history (0-4-1). The last meeting in Orlando ended in a 1-1 draw.
Red Stars getting healthy
Last weekend Australian international Sam Kerr and injured midfielder Julie Ertz made their 2018 debuts into the Chicago lineup. Kerr made an immediate impact with her presence as she was involved in Alyssa Mautz’s goal against Washington. Mautz leads the team in goals with three on the season. Ertz, who has been suffering a right knee sprain, came off the bench in the 74th minute replacing Nikki Stanton. Even with having key players on the injury list Chicago has played well and are currently sitting in second place in the NWSL standings. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has improved after early season struggles. Naeher and her defense have held opponents to one goal or fewer in the last four games including two clean sheets. Last weekend was the first time this season Sofia Huerta and Danielle Colaprico have been held off the scoring sheet. Despite being held off the score sheet, Huerta and Colaprico still lead the team with two assists each. Chicago Red Stars (9 points) will look to close the gap in the standings between them and first place North Carolina Courage (16 points).
Chicago Red Stars will be without Vanessa DiBernardo (pelvis), Stephanie McCaffrey (illness), Casey Short (right ankle sprain) and Rosie White (right and left navicular fracture)
Pride back at full strength
With the return of the Brazilians Marta, Monica and Polina, Orlando Pride will look to climb the NWSL table. Also returning to the lineup is Australian Alanna Kennedy. Australian midfielder Emily van Egmond made her NWSL debut last weekend and hope to get on track with her new teammates. Last week, Marta wasted no time finding the back in her return. She scored the game’s equalizer on an a left footed free kick strike that found the top right corner of the net. This was Marta’s second goal of the season and is tied for the team lead with Chioma Ubogagu. Midfielder Christine Nairn has found her place on the Pride and is leading the team with two assists as well as drawing the foul that set up Marta's goal. Forward Sydney Leroux is looking for her first goal with the Pride and the 2018 season. While, Ali Krieger is glad to have backline teammate Monica back from South America Copa America and is ready see Monica’s new found scoring touch. “Maybe we should put her up top,” joked Krieger to the media after practice. “[Monica] is so calm and so smart and brings me a type of calmness… it is a joy to have her not only as friend but as a teammate.” After a questionable take down of Seattle forward Jodie Taylor last week, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will not by suspended by the NWSL.
Orlando Pride will still be without Brazilian defender Camila as she recovers from right knee surgery. Ashlyn Harris (left hyperextended elbow) and Alex Morgan (left hyperextended knee) are questionable.
The match will be broadcast on go90.com and the go90 app on Wednesday May 2 at 7:30 P.M. EST.