The Red Stars are set to host expansion team Kansas City in a must-win matchup for both teams. The game was originally set to be played last night, but was moved to later this evening due to inclement weather.
Kansas City has a proud history when it comes to the women’s game, but has been served a rollercoaster ride over the last few years. FC Kansas City was orginally created in 2012 in parallel with the then brand new NWSL. The team was successful on the pitch, winning the NWSL championship in 2014 and 2015.
However, a scandal from one ownership group, combined with mismanagement and absentee ownership from another group, led to the team being dissolved in 2017 and moved to Utah.
The scandal followed the club as stories of blatant racist behavior from Utah owner Dell Loy Hansen became public amidst the team’s desire to not play due to the shooting of Jacob Blake. “All was happy and rosy at first…” Little said about the new Utah Royals team, “…it turned out the owner was far worse in reality so the Utah Royals were put up for sale.”
Tough Test Ahead for Red Stars
New ownership and new money (including from Patrick Mahomes) have brought the team back to Kansas City, technically as an expansion team, with an exciting and talented squad. “Amy Rodriguez will need to score, and new players like Chloe Logarzo and Marianna Larroquette will need to make an impact…add in some draft picks like Victoria Pickett, who already looks like she may have been a hidden gem, and they could field a quality team.”
KC lost to the Portland Thorns 2-1 all the way back on April 9, giving the expansion side 11 days in between games, something the Red Stars were not able to enjoy. “A little advantage for Kansas City,” Little said of the layoff between matches, “It allowed a couple injuries to get better and the internationals to return.”
US Olympians Return
The Red Stars will get some of their own Olympians back as Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, and Alyssa Naeher all return from international duty. Davidson and Ertz will most likely return as the Red Stars’ primary center-back partnership versus Kansas City.
Kristen Edmonds should be the only player missing for Kansas City due to the red card she picked up against Portland.
The Red Stars will aim to put their scoring woes behind them as they have yet to find the back of the net. This, despite the fact Chicago has outshot their opponents 22-11 through their first two matches, resulted in 1.8 xG and only 0.6 xGA.
The Red Stars will be looking for a spark as they must win this game to have any chance of advancing to the NWSL Challenge Cup Final.
Predicted Lineups & Scores:
Kansas City: Smith; Maemone, Del Fava, Corsie, Bowen; Pickett, Scott, LaBonta, Larroquette, Rodriguez; Vasconcelos
Red Stars: Naeher; Wright, Davidson, Ertz, Gorden; Colaprico, Killion; Brian, DiBernardo, Watt; Johnson
Thad: 2-1 Red Stars