For the first time since the 2017 NWSL semifinals where North Carolina Courage ended Chicago's season, the two teams will meet on Sunday, May 6 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The game will be streamed on go90 (U.S.), NWSLsoccer.com, and the NWSL app (international).
North Carolina Courage: Still Undefeated
No other team in the NWSL remains unbeaten like North Carolina. They enter week 6 with four wins and one draw. The Courage are the NWSL leaders with 16 points through six matches, seven points ahead of the Red Stars.
North Carolina are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dash, recording another shoutout along the way, their fourth of the season. Crystal Dunn and Kristen Hamilton each scored in that game to continue the undefeated streak for the season.
At this point in the season, the question has been: Can anyone beat the North Carolina Courage?
Chicago Red Stars: Still Looking for their Form
The Chicago Red Stars are in second place in the NWSL standings with nine points due to two wins, two losses, and three draws. Despite their talented roster, injuries to Julie Ertz, Vanessa DiBenardo, and Casey Short and Sam Kerr's absence due to international duty have resulted in a slow start for the Red Stars. Despite this, Chicago has managed two major victories, including one against Utah Royals FC and Houston.
Sam Kerr has returned, however, making her 2018 season debut against Washington Spirit on April 28th. Julie Ertz also made her first appearance in that game but missed the following game against Orlando Pride due to a back strain.
Slowly but surely, Chicago is getting back their core roster, which the sooner that happens, the better for a Red Stars to find their form for the season.
Red Stars vs Courage: Series History
Chicago comes to North Carolina with three wins and one loss against the Courage. Up until the 2017 playoffs, Chicago appeared to have North Carolina's number, winning all three meetings. But it was the semifinal match on October 8th that mattered the most with a spot in the NWSL Championship on the line.
The Courage held Chicago's offense all game and broke through in the 89th minute with Denise O’Sullivan’s goal. The loss was heartbreaking for the Red Stars, who for the third time found themselves exiting the playoffs in the semifinals stage.
CHICAGO RED STARS
Vanessa DiBernardo (stress fracture pelvis – D45), Stephanie McCaffrey (illness), Casey Short (right ankle sprain –D45),
Rosie White (right and left navicular fracture – D45)
Julie Ertz (back strain)
NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
OUT: Makenzy Doniak (left knee ACL tear – SEI), Yuri Kawamura (right knee ACL repair - D45), Julie King (left ankle repair)
Kristen Hamilton (illness)