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Match Preview: Angel City at Chicago Red Stars | 4.13.24


Saturday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific, Angel City is on the road for the third game in a row, this time against the Chicago Red Stars. The match will be broadcast in the US on ION, with an English-language radio broadcast on iHeart. Angel City will host a watch party at Tom’s Watch Bar in DTLA beginning at 5:30 p.m.


Last week, Angel City lost 2–4 on the road in Kansas City. That rollercoaster of a match saw the Current go up 2–0 before halftime; Angel City came out swinging in the second half, with forward Sydney Leroux putting one away in the 50th minute, but KC forward Temwa Chawinga came back just a minute later to double her team’s lead.

ACFC rookie defender Madison Curry—in her first professional start—notched her first-ever goal following a corner kick in the 78th minute to bring the score to 3–2. Midfielder Rocky Rodríguez, getting her first minutes in an Angel City jersey, found the back of the net a few minutes after that, but her attempt was ruled offside following a video review. Kansas City forward Bia Zaneratto recorded a fourth goal for her team in second-half stoppage time.

The Red Stars’ last game was March 29 at Orlando, a contest they drew 1–1. Chicago conceded a goal in the 21st minute when an Orlando corner kick deflected off defender Taylor Malham to land in the net. Forward Mallory Swanson equalized in the 64th minute, her first goal since an injury sustained in a USWNT game last spring sidelined her for most of the 2023 season.

Heading into Week 4, Chicago sit in second place with an undefeated 2–0–1 (W–L–D) record. Angel City are in 14th place with a 0–2–1 record.

Angel City are 1–2–1 all-time against Chicago, having recorded a loss and a draw against the Red Stars in 2023.

Scouting Report

2024 is something of a reset for the Red Stars, which underwent a significant revamp this past offseason following its sale to a new ownership group led by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts. Former Jamaica national team manager Lorne Donaldson was brought in as head coach. A handful of veteran players parted ways with the club, and Donaldson’s staff brought 14 new players, including a mix of young players and veterans.

That included bringing in three experienced defenders: Finnish international Natalia Kuikka from Portland, Sam Staab from Washington, and Maxi Rall from Bayern Munich. 

The Red Stars also signed four players out of the 2024 Draft, most notably using the tenth overall pick on Bermuda international Leilanni Nesbeth, a midfielder fresh off winning the 2023 NCAA championship with Florida State.

In addition, the return of forward Mallory Swanson is huge for the club, as the 24-year-old was Chicago’s leading scorer in 2022 and their co-leading scorer in 2021. Swanson’s injury, which came in April last year, dealt a major blow to a team that had already lost a number of its starters in the offseason, and the Red Stars finished in last place with a head-turning -22 goal differential.

The rebuild seems to be paying dividends so far, as the team has yet to lose and has conceded just two goals in their first three games.

Reversion to the mean?

Despite earning just a single point in their first three matches, there’s good evidence to suggest that Angel City has played better than their record suggests and has been on the receiving end of some of the league’s worst luck.

Despite having scored just three goals—putting them fourth from the bottom of the table by that measure—ACFC ranks third in the league in both shots and shots on target, with 36 and 20, respectively. Perhaps more important, they’ve also recorded 4.85 expected goals (or xG; a statistical measure that indicates how many goals an analyst would “expect” a team to score based on the quality of their shots) on the season, the fourth best in the league.

The team’s xG allowed, which measures the quality of shots against a team, is worse, at 4.18 (here a lower number is better), but still gives them a positive xG differential.

Chicago, meanwhile, has been overperforming on all the same measures, with just 11 shots on target and 2.58 xG, despite having scored five goals on the season.

In short, if these trends continue, Angel City is likely to climb the table in coming weeks, while the Red Stars could very well slip.