The six-year history of the National Women’s Soccer League has played host to plenty of wild, high-scoring games, but Saturday’s match-up between the Chicago Red Stars and the Portland Thorns has to be one of the most exciting in recent memory — and the timing couldn’t be better.
If the lopsided history between these two teams (the Thorns lead the all-time series 8-1-9, with the lone Chicago win coming way back in 2013) loomed over the Red Stars going into the game, they didn’t show it. And if they’re disappointed about the draw, as both sides have their own reasons to be, there are plenty of positives, too, not least of which is the fact that that game — that eight-goal, down-to-the-final-whistle roller coaster — was the first Red Stars game to be televised in Chicago, after the club announced a deal with NBC Sports Chicago earlier this week.
The Red Stars have the coolest kit in the league (if not all of American soccer), a stone-cold superstar in Sam Kerr, and they just played that game on local TV, less than two months before the World Cup provides its quadrennial boost to women’s soccer viewership. If this year is to be any kind of moment for the sport, Chicago is capitalizing on it in the best possible way.
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