The NWSL is, probably, one of the most volatile, mercurial and difficult to predict leagues in the world. The fact all the teams have more or less the same level of competitiveness calls for somewhat unexpected results and close games.
Within those unexpected outcomes, we have to talk about the two teams that will square off this Saturday evening between the Chicago Red Stars and FC Kansas City.
Handicapping Chicago’s chances
For the home side, the return of Tierna Davidson will help solidify a defense that has had some struggling performances, The absence of Alyssa Naeher, who will still be out due to an injury sustained during the USWNT campaign at the Olympics, has exacerbated that issue. It’s been almost two months (July 3rd, 1-0 win against Washington Spirit) since the Red Stars posted a clean sheet.
Despite that, Chicago has found a couple of victories in that time. However, they’re on on a run of three winless games, so they will probably will look to break out, find a way to score, and win. For the Red Stars, that would represent solid improvement upon that infamous run of goals scored from opposition’s own goals.
|Sportsbook||Red Stars to win||Draw||Kansas City to win|
Is Kansas City ready for its first road win?
Nonetheless, be wary of confidence that the Red Stars will inevitably score. They have created 4.16 xG in attack but scored just once.
Those possibilities are not helped with Kansas City. The club just added bronze medalist Adrianna Franch. She couldn’t close out a shutout in her Kansas City debut against Racing Louisville but yet contributed to the second win for the franchise. More progression could see them climbing on the table and leaving the basement of the positions in the league.
Kansas City, for all the good things that they’re doing, including shifting from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 with Addie McCain as the 10, still have a huge debt if they wanna find a way into playoffs. Namely, the club has to get points away from home.
They only have three points from games on the road, three draws to be precise, against the Houston Dash, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the team they will face today, Chicago (a 1-1 draw).
During the season, Kansas City might felt they have a lot of bad luck, scoring a languid 0.55 goals per game while visiting teams created 1.25 xG from their attacks. That likely feels worse added to the fact that in their last fige games away they only scored two goals. Worse than that, they conceded 1.73 goals when the opposition’s created 1.63 xG per 90.
Surely having Franch in goal will help with this record. The seven goals conceded in the last two games on the road while only facing 3.56 xG against, coming from only 10 shots on target, might hinder performances on the psychological side.
Of course, an early goal from Kansas might help them but this match could be low-scoring. In fact, a repetition of the previous game at the SeatGeek Stadium a very likely outcome.