NWSL weekend preview: Kerr against Foord in Chicago v Portland clash

The 2019 National Women's Soccer League campaign commenced with a bang with Westfield Matildas forwards Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord both on target.

This Sunday morning, the two world-class strikers must put their friendship on hold when Kerr's Chicago Red Stars play host to Foord's Thorns on Sunday morning.

Here's the rundown on that mouth-watering battle, and a full preview of the weekend NWSL action for your Westfield Matildas.

All kick off times in AEST. All games are LIVE and FREE on the NWSL’s official website at NWSLsoccer.com, where you can also watch on-demand.

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Sam Kerr scored the opening goal of the 2019 NWSL campaign

North Carolina Courage v Orlando Pride, Thursday 9:00am

Fans of Orlando Pride will hope the potential returns of Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond to the match day squad can bolster the club’s tricky trip to reigning champions North Carolina Courage.

Kennedy and van Egmond did not feature in Pride’s 2-0 opening round defeat to Portland Thorns with a virus.

Emily van Egmond training for Orlando this week

And their absences told too, with Kennedy’s dominant presence and van Egmond’s midfield energy both sorely missed.

Those two qualities will be needed in high demand if Orlando are to get off the mark against 2018 double-winners North Carolina, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Sam Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars in their season opener.

The last time they met: Orlando were beaten 3-0 by the Courage

Chicago Red Stars v Portland Thorns, Sunday 5:30am

Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord have terrorised opposition defences in tandem for the Westfield Matildas but the two in-form forwards will be trying to out-do each other in front of goal when Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns face off.

Kerr has won back-to-back Golden Boots in both the Westfield W-League for Perth Glory and in the NWSL (for Sky Blue in 2017 and Chicago Red Stars in 2018) and naturally scored the first goal of the 2019 season in the Red Stars credible 1-1 draw against North Carolina in their season opener.

In her Australian international teammate Foord, Kerr may have genuine rival for top scorer honours this campaign. Sydney FC star Foord opened her account in Portland’s 2-0 win over Orlando on Monday and provided an assist for USA hot-shot Tobin Heath.

Ellie Carpenter also featured in that win for Portland, but Hayley Raso missed out due to the Brisbane Roar forward finalising her United States work visa.

Caitlin Foord scored in Portland's 2-0 victory over Orlando

Sky Blue v Houston Dash, Sunday 8:00am

Westfield Matildas stalwart Clare Polkinghorne began her NWSL season in Houston Dash’s 1-1 draw against Seattle Reign but will be targeting all three points against Sky Blue in Sunday morning’s fixture.

Polkinghorne partnered Amber Brooks, who plied her trade for Adelaide United in the 2018/19 Westfield W-League campaign, in the heart of defence for Dash in the opening-day truce.

Having spent the last three months recovering from an ankle injury, forward Kyah Simon touched down in the states and began training with the Dash earlier this week.

Polkinghorne played all 90 minutes in Houston's 1-1 draw with Seattle

Utah Royals v Washington Spirit, Sunday 11:00am

Sydney FC midfielder Amy Harrison could make her maiden NWSL appearance when Washington Spirit travel to Utah Royals in the final fixture of Sunday morning.

Harrison made the bench in Spirit’s opening round 2-0 win over Sky Blues last time out, a match that saw Sky Blues teammate Chloe Logarzo miss out.

Washington Spirit beat Sky Blue 2-0 in their opening match

Seattle Reign v Orlando Pride, Monday 12:00pm

There could be up to five Westfield Matildas on the field when NWSL action concludes with Seattle Reign’s fixture with Orlando Pride on Monday lunchtime.

Elise Kellond-Knight was the only Australian involved for Reign in their 1-1 stalemate with Houston last Monday, with Michelle Betos preferred over Lydia Williams in goals.

Steph Catley missed that one with a calf strain, but could be involved for the arrival of Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond’s Orlando, who will be coming in off the back of Thursday’s clash with North Carolina.

Elise Kellond-Knight
Kellond-Knight made her Seattle Reign and NWSL debut last Monday