It’s a brand new beginning for the Chicago Red Stars. Or at least, a much better starting point after the scoreless draw in their home opener. They won’t get too much time to think about it because they’ll be going right into a mid-week game against a Kansas City team that also has yet to win a game. Let’s look at who will be available in this game.
Last week it was confirmed by US Soccer that Julie Ertz would be out until the start of the Olympics, meaning that the Chicago Red Stars will be without her for over half the season. As for Kansas City, Elizabeth Ball was sent off on her second yellow in the team’s previous game against the Houston Dash, so she will be unavailable on Wednesday.
Here are three things to look out for in this mid-week matchup:
With three games in just 7 days, the Chicago Red Stars will be forced to make a big early decision: How much can they reasonably rotate? Can they rotate players at all without ruining the momentum they got from last week? After a game that may have revealed a lack of faith in the team’s depth, it will be interesting to see how this is approached. Based on past history, it’s tough to see coach Rory Dames go with anything other than his first-choice side. Even in the past with a wealth of talent on the bench, he preferred to stick with a regular squad. After seeing what happens when you play a regular squad, it might be the time that he finally mixes it up.
One of the biggest battles in this game is going to be in the midfield, as it always is. Morgan Gautrat’s return last week was a welcome one that helped to solidify the defense after the mess that was the first game. Vanessa DiBernardo and Danielle Colaprico have worked together in that midfield for so long that it’s almost a given that they will be able to do their jobs. But we saw that just a small crack in that armor can have major consequences. It’s yet to be seen if someone like Sarah Woldmoe can fit in to a role in this set-up.
Just Get One
Honestly, all this Chicago Red Stars team needs is one goal to get them started. In the Challenge Cup, one goal against Kansas City was able to lead to a solid two goal performance in the next game against OL Reign. It’s about building the confidence that the team can still score goals even without all of the proven goalscorers that they have lost over the past couple of years. Even if it’s just one goal on Wednesday night, it could help lead to more down the road.
Chicago Red Stars (4-3-3): Alyssa Naeher; Casey Krueger, Tierna Davidson, Kayla Sharples, Tatumn Milazzo; Morgan Gautrat, Vanessa DiBernardo, Sarah Woldmoe; Arin Wright, Katie Johnson, Rachel Hill
Kansas City (4-2-3-1): Nicole Barnhart; Katie Bowen, Rachel Corsie, Taylor Leach, Kristen Edmonds; Desiree Scott, Victoria Pickett; Mariana Larroquette, Michele Vasconcelos, Mallory Weber; Amy Rodriguez
How To Watch
Wednesday, May 26th, 7:00 PM CDT; At Field of Legends in Kansas City, KS, on CBS Sports and online internationally on Twitch