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NWSL Mid-Week 14 Preview

Lori Chalupny and the Red Stars, 4-2-1 in their last seven matches, play the Spirit for the first time Wednesday evening. (Photo courtesy Chicago Red Stars/Smith)

Believe it or not there are still two sets of teams who have not played each other this season.  The Flash will play the Thorns for the first time Sunday and Week 14 will kick off with the first encounter between the Red Stars and Spirit.

Here is a look at the midweek action in NWSL Week 14:

Chicago Red Stars (4-6-3) at Washington Spirit (2-8-4)
Wednesday, 7:30 pm EDT
Maryland SoccerPlex
Series:  First meeting

Quick Look:  The Spirit will play their third match in eight days to open Mark Parsons’s tenure as head coach.  So far they have drawn home to FC Kansas City and lost at Sky Blue, giving up a single goal each time and scoring one from the penalty spot.  That means the Spirit still have not scored in the run of play since May 16.  As for the Red Stars they are 4-2-1 in their last seven matches but even at that have a narrow margin for error as it pertains to the playoffs.

Tactical Short:  Good contrast in styles here with the Red Stars looking to play a bit more direct and through Lori Chalupny and the Spirit going through Diana Matheson on the right flank.  In order to break out of their prolonged slump the Spirit will have to possess and move the ball with more authority in the attacking midfield areas, a difficult proposition against a Red Stars team that has several options for clogging up that area.

Western New York Flash (6-3-5) at Seattle Reign FC (2-9-3)

Thursday, 10 pm EDT
Starfire Stadium
Series:  tied, 0-0-1

Quick Look:  The Flash will conclude their grueling stretch of eight out of 10 matches away with a swing through the Pacific Northwest beginning here against a Reign side whose four-match unbeaten run dates to a 1-1 draw in their visit to Western New York.  That may well have been a Flash victory if not for a penalty and then red card to Kiersten Dallstream.  Quietly the Flash have won only once in their last five matches.

Tactical Short:  Jessica Fishlock is one of the better and more aggressive ball winners in the league.  Kaylyn Kyle has turned her season around since partnering with Lauren Barnes in central defense.  But Fishlock and Kyle are sitting on yellow card suspensions and could be tentative especially in the early stages.  An interesting battle will be to see how Samantha Kerr can hang with Megan Rapinoe on the flank.  Kerr came off the bench in their last meeting—Rapinoe’s debut match for the Reign.



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