The Chicago Red Stars (0-2-0) (W-D-L) and Reign FC (0-2-0) have a tough date scheduled for Saturday night. Right now the weather forecast for Bridgeview, IL is somewhere around 38 degrees and about 100% chance of precipitation. Whether that precipitation will be liquid or frozen is yet to be settled, but things are looking pretty brutal. Those conditions will make things even more difficult for two teams desperate to secure their first win before the USWNT and other internationals head to their respective camps ahead of the upcoming 2019 Women's World Cup.
The Red Stars and Reign will be facing off for the first time this season. Last weekend, Chicago scored a 90th-minute equalizer to earn a draw in their thrilling 4-4 match against Portland Thorns FC. Reign FC had a less exciting time in their 1-1 draw with the winless Orlando Pride. The Reign and Red Stars are currently tied for sixth in the NWSL.
Trying to break the streak before the break
While both teams might have the same record, they haven't faced off against the same level of competition. Chicago has drawn with the North Carolina Courage, reigning league champions, and the Thorns, the team the Courage beat in the championship game. Australian superstar Sam Kerr has continued her decimation of opposing defenses. In the first match of the season, Chicago sat 10 players behind the ball and relied on Kerr to create the offense. Kerr scored the opening goal of the match and then nearly scored the game-winner at the end of the match. There might not be another player in the league with more offensive skill.
In the second match, Red Stars manager Rory Dames opted for a more offensive game plan, and while they did end up scoring four goals, they also conceded four. Casey Short struggled in her first start back, and Tierna Davidson was torched a few times by the creative runs of the Portland forwards. Midfielder Morgan Brian has been getting a good chunk of minutes at the end of each match, and it feels like she is in good form right now. Forward Yuki Nagasato is also providing a lot of playmaking prowess on the front foot, but this will be the last match until July, at the earliest, that many of the Chicago starters will be suiting up for their club. They definitely need to get this win as they try to make their fifth-straight playoff appearance.
For Reign FC, the opposition has been less impressive. On opening weekend the Reign played to a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dash. The Dash went on to beat Sky Blue FC the next week. On Easter Sunday the Reign hosted their first home match at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, WA against the Orlando Pride. The Pride were on their third game in seven days and had lost the first two matches, but they were able to get an early goal against RFC and ended up with a 1-1 draw.
The Reign have been hard done by injuries to this point in the season. Forward Megan Rapinoe has yet to take the field for the Reign in 2019, and she has already been ruled out for Saturday's match. Of the other forwards, Jasmyn Spencer tore her ACL in the first match of the season and is out indefinitely, and Darian Jenkins, after scoring her first professional goal in the first match of the year, is nursing a left hamstring injury. This has left Jodie Taylor as the primary source of offense, but she hasn't been able to finish her chances. The defense is good like last year, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against a creative offensive team.
The match takes place at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday night. Fans in the United States can watch on Yahoo! Sports, while our international fans can watch on the NWSL website.