Western New York Flash at Chicago Red Stars (Benedictine Sports Complex)
2pm E.T./1pm C.T.
The Chicago Red Stars (3-6-3, 12 points) are coming off a 3-1 loss in Seattle on Saturday. Michelle Wenino found the back of the net to make the game 2-1 and make it interesting for the final minutes until Rapinoe put the game out of reach. The loss was one of just two in the month of June as Chicago was able to earn 10 out of a possible 18 points in six matches while going 3-2-1.
German internationals Inka Grings and Sonja Fuss have helped the Red Stars shore up their back line (Fuss) and add some attacking flair up top (Grings). The Red Stars saw nine different players score goals during the month of June – showing that they weren’t just relying on one player.
Lori Chalupny, who has been a force in the midfield for Chicago, was very quiet during the loss to Seattle. She was held without a shot in Saturday’s match.
Both Erin McCleod and Taylor Vancil have made appearances in goal for the Red Stars this season, splitting time between the posts in June as McCleod spent a good chunk of the time on national team duty. Vancil has started and played all 90 minutes of both matches against the Flash, giving up two goals in each match. According to the Red Stars pre-game release, McCleod will get the starting nod this time.
Adriana Leon is expected to make her Chicago debut after being traded from Boston last weekend. The young forward has only played 163 minutes on the season, mostly as a substitute with the Breakers. She will look to impact the balanced scoring that the Red Stars have fallen into this season.
The Red Stars will still be without Shannon Boxx and Zakiya Bywaters who are both out with knee injuries . Boxx is still week-by-week in her recovery from minor knee surgery at the end of April. Bywaters also had successful minor knee surgery and is expected to miss another 2-4 weeks.
The Western New York Flash (6-2-4, 22 points) are coming off a 4-0 win over Washington on June 28. Carli Lloyd notched a hat trick and Brittany Taylor added a goal in stoppage time for the win. The win stretched the Flash’s unbeaten streak to nine games and they will look to continue that when they travel to Chicago.
Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach will both be on hand for this match after missing the previous battle between these two clubs while on national team duty in mid-June. Lloyd has found herself with more time and space than she should be given and Chicago will have to close the gap or Lloyd will be dangerous.
Adrianna Franch has come up big when they have needed her to. Alex Sahlen has gotten forward often from her right back position and has constantly played dangerous crosses into the area. Ingrid Wells made her Flash debut in Friday’s match after being picked up off waivers on June 20. Brittany Taylor has gotten into the attack and has two goals on the season – both coming in the 89th minute or later.
The Flash will still be without Samantha Kerr (AUS) and Adriana (ESP) who are both on national team duty. Western New York has shown that they can attack dangerously despite the combination of players that may be missing.
The depth of that attacking will be tested this week as Victoria DiMartino will miss Thursday’s match with Chicago. She went out in the 41st minute of the 4-0 win over the Spirit on Friday with a knee injury that was later diagnosed as a MCL sprain in her right knee.
Jodi-Ann Robinson (right hand fracture), Alex Sahlen (right wrist fracture), and McCall Zerboni (right hip strain) are all listed as probable for the match.
These two clubs are meeting for the third time this season. The most recent battle ended in a 2-2 draw following an 89th minute tally from Brittany Taylor for the Flash to pull a point out on the road. Alyssa Mautz got the Red Stars on the board just eight seconds into the match for the fastest goal in NWSL history. Adriana (WNY) and Leslie Osborne (CHI) found the back of the net as well.
The Red Stars will need to defend both Wambach and Lloyd tightly and not allow them too much time or space if they want to keep the two US National team stars off the scoresheet. Expect Veronica Perez to see time up front, especially with both Kerr and DiMartino unavailable for the match.
Season Series: 1-0-1 (Western New York)