This Saturday, the Orlando Pride will host the Chicago Red Stars for the second time this season at Orlando City Stadium. Chicago (8-3-4, 28 points) sit atop the NWSL standings and have been consistently solid all season long. For Orlando (5-6-4, 19 points), the time is now to begin their push up the standings to qualify for the NWSL playoffs.
Here is a breakdown of the Pride’s next opponent:
The Red Stars are unbeaten in their last four matches. Most recently, Chicago was on the winning end of a 2-1 result at home against the Pride. Prior to last weekend’s win over Orlando, Chicago drew Sky Blue FC 2-2 and played the Boston Breakers to a scoreless draw.
Christen Press spearheads the Red Stars attack at the striker position. Chicago plays a direct style of soccer -- feeding the ball to Press high up the pitch and working off of the second ball. While Press is the primary threat in attack, the Red Stars defense has been playing at a high level all season. Lead by USWNT players Julie Erta and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Chicago’s defense is among the best in the NWSL.
As one might expect from the top team in the League, the Red Stars don’t have many weaknesses. But, no team is perfect. The Pride scored from a set piece against the Red Stars last weekend -- Chicago’s vulnerability on set plays could be a weakness Orlando targets in Saturday’s rematch at Orlando City Stadium.
Chicago has gotten the better of Orlando in both their NWSL meetings this season. Christen Press has scored all three Chicago goals in the two matches; Alanna Kennedy scored the Pride’s lone goal in the recent 2-1 defeat at Toyota Park.