May 19, 2017 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Chicago Red Stars
CHICAGO - The Red Stars will take on the newest National Women's Soccer Team (NWSL) franchise in the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Park in Cary, North Carolina. Kickoff is set for Sunday, May 21, at 3 p.m. CT.
The Red Stars are coming off a 1-1 draw against the Boston Breakers, continuing their undefeated home streak. It was Christen Press who broke her scored her first goal of the 2017 season after Sofia Huerta assisted the captain's 89th minute header.
Despite the fact that she just received her first goal of 2017, Press leads the league in shots (20) and shots on goal (11). With seven points, the Red Stars have only found the back of the net four times, with one being an own goal thanks to Houston. Midfielder Sofia Huerta stated the team is ready for the Courage and will be looking to attack.
"The team is feeling really good going into this weekend," said Huerta. "We've spent a lot of time this week watching film, focusing on specific movements in the attacking third so we can have more opportunities and hopefully score more goals. I think this is the first time this season we've really focused on the attacking third and that's really where we haven't produced as much."
Still sitting in first place, the Courage was handed their first loss of the season during a 3-1 match against Orlando Pride, despite creating more chances than the Pride. Debinha had the lone goal for North Carolina, marking her second goal of the season. Behind Press, the league leader, is North Carolina's Lynn Williams (18), Debinha (16) and Jessica McDonald (13) on the board with shots, while the team tops the standings with 70 total shots.
Chicago faced North Carolina, formerly the Western New York Flash, twice last season, splitting the series with a win each. The 2016 home opener for the Red Stars saw Casey Short's first goal, starting the undefeated home streak for Chicago. Two months later, Red Stars fell 2-0 after goals by Williams and Leanne Sanderson.
The Red Stars have yet to win on the road in the 2017 season, losing to Houston (2-0) and Portland (1-0), making the team hungry for their first road victory.
"Playing on the road is tough, but I think we're ready," said Huerta. "We're looking to prove what we have. We just want to keep improving what we are trying to do here as the season progresses. We're getting to the point where it needs to be better, we need to get results and we need to fight for each other; doing that will get us a positive result on the road."
Both teams will look to use their strong defense, as each have allowed only four goals, to stop any scoring chances, while the attacking threats look to gain the edge over the other.
Watch the Red Stars take on the Courage on May 21, at 3 p.m. CT on go90, NWSL app or online at NWSLsoccer.com. Chicago will turn right around and host North Carolina on May 27, at 3 p.m. CT. Tickets are available here.
Chicago Red Stars, founded in 2007, are one of ten professional teams in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and one of the longest tenured clubs in North American women's soccer. The back-to-back NWSL Playoff club boasts some of the most elite players in the world, including stars from the 2015 Women's World Cup Championship team. For more information on the Red Stars and to purchase tickets, please visit the team's official website.