Chicago Red Stars hosted their home opener against Portland Thorns FC last weekend, in Seat Geek stadium. Heading into match day, the buzz around the club was at an all-time high with their recent kit reveal and the announcement of a broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Chicago.
It was a goal fest for both teams as the high-scoring match ended in a 4-4 draw and left the Red Stars with some things to be happy about and other things to improve on. Six players for Chicago were listed on the injury report as “questionable,” although five of them saw time on the pitch.
The Run Down
Casey Short got her first start and went 75 minutes for the Red Stars, while Morgan Brian and Vanessa DiBernardo continued to build their match minutes on the season as subs against the Thorns. In the offseason, the Red Stars made a trade with Sky Blue FC for Katie Johnson, who also got her first start of the season in the home opener.
“I was playing in kind of a new role [and] new position, and I think I did a good job contributing to the team,” said Johnson. “[the game] was good, and I think we played pretty well, and we responded well to the goals [against us].”
Johnson played a full 90 and contributed on a connecting play to Sam Kerr for Yuki Nagasato’s 90th-minute equalizing goal. Her work rate on an endline play earned a penalty kick for Chicago as well.
“I think we all play kind of similarly, we’re all very attacking minded,” said Johnson.
“I think we flow and we trust each other. When you just trust someone it’s easier to play with them. So, I know that they’ll do their job and I think they respect me in the same level so we’ll just try to keep playing and building.”
While the home opener itself was memorable, the Red Stars are still looking for their first win of the season and Red Stars are hoping it will be this Saturday against Reign FC.
The offense will want to continue to build on their attack from the previous match while the defense will likely be looking for a bit of redemption after conceding four goals.
“I think if we’re scoring goals that’s one part and now we just have to be a little smarter in the defense and make sure we don’t put up any goals against us,” said Johnson.
The Red Stars match against the Reign will be the World Cup send-off game for U.S. National Team players. The Red Stars will be on the road for a future match against Utah Royals and the National Team players will be in camps to prep for the World Cup. It’ll also allow some of the club players to a get a final run out with their World Cup teammates and continue to improve on some cohesion before going through a long run of matches without a handful of the international stars.
During the home opener, the windy conditions played a part in the match. The rainy forecast for this Saturday could bring some additional weather-related scenarios.
Chicago Red Stars kickoff against Reign FC at Seat Geek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL this Saturday at 7 p.m.