Utah Royals FC (9-9-4)
@ Chicago Red Stars (13-8-2)
When: Saturday, September 28 | 6:00 PM MT
Where: SeatGeek Stadium | Bridgeview, Illinois
Weather: 75 degrees, sunny
Live Stream: Yahoo Sports app, KSL app, NWSLSoccer.com
Radio: ESPN 700
Welp. Guess it’s time to finish the season, huh? I know. The season is not over. There’s still two games left, and Utah Royals FC have not been eliminated from playoff contention, but much has to happen for Utah to make the playoffs. First of all, Reign FC own the tiebreaker now with their two wins over Utah this season. For Utah to break into the top 4, Utah must win their next two games, AND Reign FC must lose at least one match and draw or lose in the other.
Utah vs. Chicago Red Star 2019 meetings: 2
May 3, 2019 - Rio Tinto Stadium
URFC 1; Chicago 0
August 3, 2019 - SeatGeek Stadium
Chicago 2; URFC 0
All-Time Series Record: 2-3-0
For Utah, finish the season strong
Utah enters Saturday’s game on a three-game losing note, all of which has dented Utah’s playoff hopes. It started against the Houston Dash, continued with the North Carolina, and solidified against Reign FC. Royals FC are now in a precarious spot. Should Utah lose any of their next two games, they will be officially eliminated, and they can start preparing for the 2020 season.
Their fate could very well be decided tonight against the Chicago Red Stars. The last time Utah and Chicago faced each other, it was back in August. The game went to the Red Stars with a 2-0 win. Before the August meeting, Utah won 1-0 on May 3rd. Royals FC enter Saturday’s match with a 2-3-0 all-time record against the Red Stars.
Clean Sheets: 10
Goals Conceded: 22
Goals Conceded (per game): 1.0
Total Shots: 214
Shots on Target: 107
Goals Scored: 22
Leading scorers: Amy Rodriguez - 8 goals; Christen Press - 6 goals
Keys to winning:
- Defense has to hold. The Utah defense has allowed seven goals in this three-game losing stretch. Reign FC’s game-winning goal came as a result of an unmarked Jodie Taylor. The defense has been unable to keep up with the speed of the forwards they’ve faced, and it won’t get easier with Chicago’s Sam Kerr, but this is a game they will have to figure out how to bunker and mark better.
- The power of Press. Since the Houston game, Christen Press has been very limited and has not been able to make the impact she is capable of making. It’s not just scoring goals either. Press can attract defenders that allow for her teammates to be open; she has the speed and talent to be a game-changer. URFC is more than one player, but when Press has a good game, Utah usually wins.
Utah Royals FC Injury Report
OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left Knee), Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left Foot), Kelley O’Hara (Left Ankle), Mandy Laddish (Right Hip), Makenzy Doniak (Left Foot), Sydney Miramontez (Right Foot)
Get to know the Chicago Red Stars
Record: 13-8-2 (41 points, 2nd place)
Head Coach: Rory Dames
Clean Sheets: 8
Goals Conceded: 27
Goals Conceded (per game): 1.2
Total Shots: 265
Shots on Target: 125
Goals Scored: 39
Players to Watch: Sam Kerr - 18 goals, 5 assists; Yuki Nagasato - 7 goals, 8 assists
Alyssa Naeher - 41 saves, 14 goals against, 6 clean sheets
Since last playing Utah in August, Chicago have won five of their last eight games, coming into Saturday’s match on a four-game winning streak. The Red Stars are looking to not only continue that winning streak, but to wrap up their season with enough distance in points from Portland to host a semi-final game. This is Chicago’s last 2019 regular season game, and should they win, they will have plenty of time to rest and prepare for another post-season.
Chicago Red Stars Injury Report
OUT: Alyssa Mautz (Right Knee), AJ Jahansouz (Right Knee), Michele Vasconcelos (Left Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Emily Boyd (Head), Arin Wright (Illness), Vanessa DiBenardo (Illness)
The way Utah has been playing, I think this is Chicago’s game to win.