NWSL Match Preview: Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars at JELD-WEN Field
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
Thorns FC leads the NWSL in second-half scoring, netting seven of the team’s 12 goals in the final 45 minutes. Portland has scored three goals in the final 15 minutes of its matches, including an 84th minute, game-winning penalty kick from forward Christine Sinclair against Seattle Reign FC on May 25. Chicago has scored three of its four total goals in the second half of matches this season.
Scouting The Red Stars
The Chicago Red Stars competed in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) from 2009-10 and moved to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) for the 2011 season. Under the direction of head coach, and Chicago native, Rory Dames, the Red Stars finished the 2011 WPSL season with a 10-1 record and moved up to the WPSL Elite division for the 2012 season. Chicago advanced to the league’s championship game, but lost on penalty kicks to the Western New York Flash. Recently, defender Rachel Quon (second round; ninth overall pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft) was called into Canadian Women’s National Team training camp for the first time ahead of Sunday’s friendly against the United States. Forward Lori Chalupny, who has earned 92 caps for the United States and won a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, leads the Red Stars with two goals and one assist in six games. First overall NWSL College Draft pick Zakiya Bywaters and midfielder Alyssa Mautz have scored one goal apiece for Chicago. Reserve goalkeeper Taylor Vancil made her NWSL debut on May 24 against the Western New York Flash, stopping five shots in a 2-1 road loss at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
Chicago Roster Moves
On Saturday, the Red Stars will be missing starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod, defenders Carmelina Moscato and Rachel Quon (national team duty with Canada), and midfielders Shannon Boxx (injury) and Lauren Fowlkes (retired). On May 21, Chicago added a pair of 34-year-old Germans in forward Inka Grings (Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga all-time leading scorer) and defender Sonja Fuss. Both players have experience with the Germany Women’s National Team and are expected to be available for this weekend’s match. Grings ranks third all-time in scoring for Germany. To create room on the roster, the Red Stars waived forward Hanna Gilmore, a 22-year-old rookie from Baylor University and goalkeeper Jamie Forbes was added as an amateur player for Saturday’s game.
National Team Duty
Thorns FC players Alex Morgan and Rachel Buehler (United States), Christine Sinclair and Karina LeBlanc (Canada) have been called up by their respective national teams for an international friendly between the United States and Canada on Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto. All four players departed for Toronto following last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Seattle Reign FC and will return on June 3. Thorns FC will be without the players for Saturday’s home match against the Chicago Red Stars at JELD-WEN Field. The first friendly to take place during the NWSL season, Canada and the United States square off at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific) with a live broadcast on ESPNews.
Upcoming National Team Games
The U.S. Women’s National Team recently announced two international friendly matches against South Korea, creating a busy month of June. The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Canada on Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto, then square off against South Korea on June 15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., followed by another match against South Korea on June 20 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. After hosting the United States on Sunday in Toronto, the Canada Women’s National Team will face off against Germany on June 19 at Benteler Arena in Paderborn, Germany.
Keeping Track of Tobin
U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Tobin Heath is finishing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain before joining up with Thorns FC for the remainder of the inaugural NWSL season. Possessing previous professional experience in WPS with the Atlanta Beat (2010) and Sky Blue FC (2011), Heath signed a six-month contract with PSG in January 2013. PSG’s French Division 1 Féminine season concluded on May 26. Head coach Farid Benstiti’s squad locked up second place and a spot in the 2013-14 UEFA Women’s Champions League competition on May 18 and finished the season with a 5-0 win on May 26. Heath scored twice in the season-ending win over Guingamp, ending her year with four goals in eight league games. The 25-year-old midfielder scored her first goal on Feb. 3, in a 4-1 win against Arras and netted her second goal of the season on March 30 in a 3-0 win against Yzeure Allier.