Sports stats

 Chicago Red Stars

Preview: Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals FC

May 12, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Chicago Red Stars News Release

CHICAGO - The Chicago Red Stars (4-3-1, 13 pts) return home to host struggling Utah Royals FC (1-6-1, 4 pts). Meeting for the second time this season, the Red Stars look to capture momentum from a 1-2 comeback win on the road against Bay FC, while the Royals search for their first victory since March 22.

With gates opening at 3:30 ahead of the 4:30 kickoff for the Bark in the Park match, Red Stars fans and their furry friends can look forward to fun activities, including a dog toy making station, and the first 1,000 to enter will receive a Red Stars collapsible water bowl for their pets. The Red Stars will also be celebrating Mother's Day at the May 12 match, where fans can look forward to a Mother's Day photo station. Fans bringing their pups can purchase the $26 Bark in the Park ticket package that includes a human and a dog ticket in the Corner Kick section. There is also a special Mother's Day ticket package for $32/ticket that includes a $20 food and beverage voucher and a parking pass for the match.

Where to Watch

Local Broadcast: Marquee Sports Network Stream: CBS Sports Golazo Network, NWSL+

Previous Result:

CHI: Chicago overcame an early deficit, securing a 1-2 triumph away against Bay FC

UTA: Utah were shutout on the road, 2-0, by San Diego


Seeking a Second Sweep: A win for the Red Stars over the Royals wouldn't just add another season sweep to Chicago's resume; it would earn the Red Stars the honor of sweeping their first two opponents in the 2024 National Women's Soccer League season. The first foe Chicago faced off against at home and on the road was Seattle Reign FC, initially in the Red Stars' Home Opener March 23 then again April 21. Chicago reigned victorious with a 2-1 scoreline in both fixtures, securing the season sweep. After shutting out Utah 2-0 on their home turf to open the season March 16, Chicago has the chance to repeat the achievement again. Having the home field hasn't been the advantage it's often cracked up to be for the Red Stars this season, however: since dampening the Reign March 23, Chicago has lost three straight at SeatGeek. In Chicago's favor, the Royals sit at the bottom of the NWSL table, haven't won since week two, have lost all three road matches and had a midweek match, meaning less time to recover. Maybe Sunday's match will be what the Red Stars need to turn the tides.

Rocky Start Royals: Chicago outpaces a struggling Utah squad in most statistics, including goals scored, where Utah ranks worst in the NWSL with just five goals in eight matches. The Royals' inability to find the back of the net is costing them, with their singular win and draw making them the ninth team in league history to earn four points or less in eight matches. Utah is also being tormented at the opposite end of the pitch, giving up 15 goals. The only two teams conceding more goals than the Royals are the Houston Dash (16) and Bay FC (19). Additionally, Utah has committed more fouls (106) and accumulated more yellow cards (17) than any other team in the league. Can the Royals turn things around and claw their way out of the Wooden Spoon Race?

Dynamic Duo: Defenders Natalia Kuikka and Sam Staab have been a virtually impenetrable center back pair this season. Together, the players account for half of Chicago's Iron Woman contenders and seven team highs in club statistics. The two are tied for a team-high 10 blocks each, Kuikka has more passes (393) and clearances (50) than any other Red Star and Staab leads the team in touches (524), passes into the final third (70) and chances created (10). Kuikka and Staab's (42) clearances place them second and fifth in the league highs, respectively, and their 10 blocks also tie them for third in the league highs. Staab was also recognized this week in the NWSL Best XI of the Month for March/April along with keeper Alyssa Naeher. Talk about synergy and strength out of the back.

• Discuss this story on the National Women's Soccer League message board...

National Women's Soccer League Stories from May 12, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central