- Anna Schmitt
Aiming to Advance: Red Stars Season Look Ahead
All indications point towards the Chicago Red Stars having a successful second half in the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) regular season. With their current record of 4-1-4, the Red Stars are standing third in the league overall. Even when presented with a trying and tiring series of six matches in three weeks, the Red Stars did not add a loss to their record during that stretch, winning or tying every single match.
Rookies Showing Up and Showing Out
So far this season, the Red Stars have struggled with availability. Many players, especially Red Stars’ defenders, who have been key to a successful Red Stars season in the past have been unavailable for at least some, if not most of the season. Tierna Davidson, Morgan Gautrat, and Arin Wright have not been on the field yet this season due to injuries, and defender Kayla Sharples ended her season recently with an ACL tear. Kealia Watt was initially unavailable due to injury and will miss the rest of the season after the announcement of her pregnancy. Casey Krueger and Sarah Woldmoe will not be a part of a starting XI this season due to maternity leave as well.
Many rookies have stepped up and shown off their talents to help the Red Stars make the most of the situation. Players like Jill Aguilera, Ava Cook, Samantha Fisher, Sarah Griffith and Amanda Kowalski have been an integral part of the success the Red Stars have seen this season and will continue to play key roles in upcoming Red Stars matches. Cook, Griffith, and Kowalski have both scored their first goals for the team, and Red Stars rookies have been responsible for half of this season’s assists. With these rookies continuing their amazing efforts and combining them with the cultivated skill of established players, there’s no doubt the rest of this Red Stars’ season will be one to remember.
The Red Stars schedule for the rest of the season is not nearly as arduous, averaging about one match every seven days. The majority of the remaining matches are going to be played on the road, allowing their opponents to have home team advantage. But the Red Stars don’t have a bad history when it comes to this season’s away matches either, holding a 1-1-2 record. Only five of the thirteen games played by the Red Stars will be against teams who the Red Stars have already faced off with this season.
Most of the remaining opponents for the Red Stars are teams they’ve yet to see this season: NJ/NY Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage, Houston Dash and expansion team Angel City FC. The next Red Stars match will be one of those, seeing the Red Stars travel to Red Bull arena to visit Gotham FC. The Red Stars have a successful record against Gotham, with 11 wins, 10 draws and 4 losses. The Red Stars have only tallied one of those losses while being the visiting team. The Red Stars will host Gotham back at home on Sunday, August 7 for the team’s “Go Green” match presented by Sloan, the Chicago Red Stars’ water efficiency partner.
The Red Stars have a dead-even record against the Courage, with each team totaling six wins and three draws. The first time they face off this season will be Sunday, July 10 at SeatGeek Stadium. This match will be the Red Stars’ #SheInspiresMe night, with awards presented to women who exemplify leadership, practice social responsibility and who inspire and uplift their community.
The Houston Dash will host the Red Stars at PNC Stadium for the teams’ first regular season meeting. Chicago has outdone Houston consistently over the years, recording twelve total wins compared to the Dash’s four. However, all four of Houston’s wins have been played on the Dash’s home turf, meaning the Red Stars will have to come prepared and bring their A-game for the match. The next meeting between the Red Stars and the Dash will be on Chicago ground Saturday, September 17 for the Red Stars’ Hispanic heritage match.
Angel City FC has been a force to reckon with so far during their first season as a team. The Red Stars will visit the west coast for their first-ever face off with Angel City Sunday, August 14. Currently standing at sixth in the league, Angel City has had a decent start to the season, with four wins, four losses and one draw. The Red Stars will then host Angel City at SeatGeek Stadium for their last match of the season Sunday, October 2. The October 2 match also will be the Chicago Red Stars fan appreciation and CRSCares night.
There are a few other matches that Red Stars’ fans will want to note. The July 30 match at 7 p.m. CT against the San Diego Wave will be hosted at Soldier field. This match is part of a Chicago soccer double header at Soldier Field, with MLS team Chicago Fire playing at 4:00 p.m. CT. On Sunday, August 14, Red Stars fans will be able to view their match in Los Angeles against Angel City FC live on CBS Sports Network. The Red Stars will also host the Kansas City Current on Wednesday, September 14. Tune in to these matches to see the Red Stars continue their amazing season.