Washington Spirit Vs Chicago Red Stars: Week 16 Preview

Chicago Red Stars, Sam Kerr (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Chicago Red Stars, Sam Kerr (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

This weekend, the Chicago Red Stars meet back up with their USWNT players on the road in Maryland to face the Washington Spirit. Here is a full Week 16 preview.

For the Chicago Red Stars faithful, one of the best things in the world to see is the Chicago Red Stars firing on all cylinders. At times, it can be beautiful soccer. It came to the fore a couple of weeks ago against Seattle, and while last week was just a slightly diminished version, this weekend’s contest against the Washington Spirit should be a treat.

Last week, Danielle Colaprico made her first start in almost a month but seemed to re-injure her leg in the process. Since the Chicago Red Stars will be getting back their USWNT players, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem to deal with in terms of depth.

On the Washington Spirit side of things, Paige Nielsen was sent off and will not be available for them. Unlike the Red Stars, they don’t really have the readily known depth to take care of this issue and may struggle from it.

The Washington Spirit have been in a full tumble down the standings, much like Chicago was earlier in the season. In the past seven games, the Spirit have only won a single game. However, many of these games have been extremely close and very competitive. You cannot fault a team that is keeping up the pressure in the way that Washington has but is getting unlucky in the fine margins.

Usually, when I talk about any team’s strength I almost always mention the goalkeeper. Aubrey Bledsoe is amazing, but this time I do want to give a spotlight to Jordan DiBiassi who has shown up for the Washington Spirit this season. With four goals so far, she was able to slot in perfectly for a team that needed a creative midfielder to fill in for Rose Lavelle while she was gone. She’s done that and more. Expect her to cause trouble mostly for Julie Ertz right in front of the defense.

Probably the biggest problem facing the Chicago Red Stars going into this game is simply fatigue. The USWNT players are not only still coming off from the World Cup celebrations, but also travel back from last weekend’s Victory Tour. In the game against Utah, Sam Kerr and Vanessa DiBernardo looked tired and were not given a break. In fact, coach Rory Dames only used two substitutes in that game. The subs he did make were very important for the result (Savannah McCaskill and Brooke Elby both worked for a goal), but now with another game a week later, he might have to look at resting some of these players who did not seem like they wanted to get up whenever they fell down last week.

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At the same time, this is the biggest time for the Chicago Red Stars to strike. With everyone finally pushing the team forward together, it’s time to make a move up towards first place. It is in reach within the next couple of weeks and the Red Stars need every advantage possible going into the playoffs. This is Chicago’s year and they need to prove it.

Projected XI:

Chicago Red Stars (4-3-3): Alyssa Naeher; Tierna Davidson, Sarah Gorden, Katie Naughton, Casey Short; Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, Vanessa DiBernardo; Yuki Nagasato, Sam Kerr, Arin Wright

Washington Spirit (4-3-3): Aubrey Bledsoe; Tori Huster, Mackenzie Berryhill, Sam Staab, Elise Kellond-Knight; Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan, Jordan DiBiasi; Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Chloe Logarzo

Next. Chicago Red Stars Vs Utah Royals: 3 things we learned. dark

How To Watch:

Saturday, August 10th, 6:00 PM CDT; At Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, MD, on NBC Sportsnet Chicago, and online with the Yahoo Sports App