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Chicago Red Stars Host 2009 WPS Champion Sky Blue FC on Saturday

July 9, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Chicago Red Stars News Release


BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Red Stars (3-5-5) host 2009 champion Sky Blue FC (5-4-3) when the two teams battle in Women's Professional Soccer action at 6 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.

The Red Stars are hoping to change their fortunes against New Jersey. Sky Blue posted 1-0 victories over the Red Stars on April 11 in Piscataway, N.J., and on April 25 at Toyota Park.

Chicago still is in search of its first win over New Jersey, which has posted a 5-0-1 record against the Red Stars during the teams' first two seasons. Chicago posted a scoreless draw against Sky Blue on April 19, 2009 - the Red Stars' first home match.

"As far as the past stuff, something's got to give at some point, right?" Red Stars Head Coach Omid Namazi said. "We've just got to continue to play the way we've been possessing the ball, and making sure that we create enough chances and give ourselves a chance to stick one in the back of the net and come up with the 'W.'"

The Red Stars are coming off a 1-1 draw against the Atlanta Beat on Wednesday at Toyota Park. Sky Blue played the Washington Freedom to a scoreless draw on Wednesday.

Sky Blue enters Saturday's match with the league's top road record. At 4-2-1, New Jersey has 13 road points, while only managing a 1-2-2 record during its home matches.

SPILGER BACK, BUT RED STARS TRIO ABSENT FOR U.S. WNT

Red Stars defender Natalie Spilger missed Wednesday's match against the Atlanta Beat because of yellow card accumulation. But Spilger will be an available option for Saturday against New Jersey. However, the Red Stars will be short a few players with goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, defender Kate Markgraf and midfielder Megan Rapinoe joining the U.S. Women's National Team in preparation for next Tuesday's match against Sweden in Omaha, Neb. (8 p.m., ESPN2). New Jersey has four call-ups missing for Saturday: midfielder Carli Lloyd, midfielder Heather O'Reilly, defender Christie Rampone and defender Meghan Schnur.

JERSEY BATTLES WITHOUT BARDSLEY

Sky Blue is coming off a scoreless draw against the Washington Freedom on Wednesday, with Kristin Luckenbill garnering the shutout in the net. It was Luckenbill's first call to the net since regular starting goalkeeper Karen Bardsley suffered a clavicle injury during training for the 2010 WPS All-Star Game. Bardsley leads WPS with five shutouts and is unavailable this weekend against Chicago.

LAST TIME OUT

The Red Stars overcame a 1-0 deficit and played the Atlanta Beat to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday, July 7, at Toyota Park. Red Stars forward Ella Masar scored the equalizer in the 42nd minute to tie the match. It was Masar's third goal in three games, following up a two-goal effort during Chicago's 2-1 road victory over the Boston Breakers on June 25. Masar and Cristiane are tied for the team lead with three goals apiece. With the draw, the Red Stars have pieced together a three-game undefeated run for the second time this season.

LOCAL TIES

Red Stars Anita Asante and Julianne Sitch both played for Sky Blue during the team's championship season. Sitch, a native of Oswego, Ill., was signed by the Red Stars on Oct. 23, 2009, during the offseason, and Asante was signed by Chicago on June 9, 2010, following the dissolution of Saint Louis Athletica. Asante and Sitch recently made a reunion trip with their former Sky Blue teammates to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on July 1 in recognition of last year's WPS crown. ... Current Sky Blue midfielder Carli Lloyd was a U.S. Women's National Team-allocated player for the Red Stars and played for Chicago during the league's inaugural season. The Delran, N.J., native signed with New Jersey during the offseason. Lloyd suffered a setback early in the season, however, breaking an ankle during Sky Blue's April 25 match against the Red Stars.

JOSTLING FOR POSITION

The Red Stars currently sit in fifth place in the WPS standings with 14 points, three points behind Washington for the fourth playoff-qualifying spot. Sky Blue has 18 points, one ahead of Washington. FC Gold Pride continues to lead the league with 25 points, followed by the Philadelphia Independence.

ON THE HORIZON

Following Saturday's match against Sky Blue, the Red Stars travel to Kennesaw, Ga., to take on the Atlanta Beat at 6:30 p.m. CT Wednesday, July 21. This marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the two squads. Atlanta, which joined WPS for the 2010 season, currently has a 1-0-2 record against the Red Stars. Chicago's most recent effort against the Beat was a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

HOME GAMES ONLINE

Red Stars home matches are broadcast in both English and Spanish on www.ChicagoRedStars.com. The next Red Stars home match is at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 10, against Sky Blue FC. Rob Coons handles the English play-by-play, and Jorge Trujillo and Enrique "Tico" Fernandez provide the Spanish webcast.

QUOTABLE

"It's a positive that we're not giving up early goals, a positive that we're not losing. The next step is how do we turn these ties into wins? And that's really taking advantage of our opportunities, because they've been there."

- Omid Namazi, Red Stars Head Coach


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