CHICAGO – The Red Stars defeated the Courage 3-1, for Chicago’s first road victory of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
As the match started, ball possession went back-and-forth between the two teams, both receiving promising opportunities. The first chance went to Chicago, as Christen Press chipped the ball over the Courage backline to Danielle Colaprico. The midfielder took a hard touch and North Carolina goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo was able to make the save in the six-yard box.
Minutes later, the Courage were in their attacking third when reigning NWSL Save of the Week goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was called upon, coming off her line to make a sliding save at the top of the box as the ball neared the feet of Debinha.
In the 14th minute, Naeher showed why she is one of the top goalkeepers in the world, catching a goal line chip over several players before being taken down and holding onto the ball despite the chaos.
The Red Stars would continue to apply pressure in the final third, earning multiple shots on goal. Chicago captain Christen Press was able to thread two North Carolina defenders to reach the feet of Sofia Huerta, but D’Angelo blocked the quick shot out of danger.
Chicago’s strategy finally paid off in the 30th minute as Press received a ball all alone in the box, making D’Angelo come off her line to stop it, but tripping Press in the process. Press stepped up to the penalty kick and hit the ball perfectly to the side of the net, giving Chicago the 1-0 lead.
The flood gates opened as seven minutes later, Press found Huerta running toward goal. The midfielder collected the ball and used her skill to turn her defender, curling a ball into the far post for her first goal of the season, making it 2-0.
Continuing to find holes in the Courage backline, Julie Ertz threaded the defense to a wide open Vanessa DiBernardo, whose shot hit off the far post. A minute before the end of the first half, DiBernardo would earn her first goal of the season after Alyssa Mautz chipped a ball into a crowded box. Deflecting off North Carolina’s McCall Zerboni, DiBernardo picked up the short ball and put it past the goalkeeper to give Chicago the 3-0 lead heading into half.
The current defending NWSL Champions came out knocking to start the second half. Ten minutes in, North Carolina found one of their own after defender Jaelene Hinkle crossed the ball over the Chicago backline, dropping right in front of Williams for an easy shot past Naeher to make a 3-1 match.
The continued attack from North Carolina would not be enough as Chicago’s defense stayed consistent and stopped all chances, giving the Courage their second 3-1 defeat.
Chicago returns to action and hosts North Carolina on May 27, at 3 p.m. CT for Bark in the Park. Tickets are available here.
– CHICAGO RED STARS MATCH REPORT –
MATCH: Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage
DATE: May 21, 2017
VENUE: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, North Carolina
KICKOFF: 3 p.m. CT
WEATHER: 76 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
CHI 3 0 3
NC 0 1 1
CHI – Christen Press (penalty kick) 30’
CHI – Sofia Huerta (Christen Press) 37’
CHI – Vanessa DiBernardo 44’
NC – Lynn Williams (Jaelene Hinkle) 55’
Chicago Red Stars Lineup: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 3-Arin Gilliland, 5-Katie Naughton, 16-Samantha Johnson, 6-Casey Short; 8-Julie Ertz, 24-Danielle Colaprico (13-Morgan Proffitt, 89), 4-Alyssa Mautz (19-Summer Green, 80), 10-Vanessa DiBernardo (7-Taylor Comeau, 69); 11-Sofia Huerta, 23-Christen Press (capt.)
Substitutes: 9-Stephanie McCaffrey, 14-Sarah Gorden, 18-Michele Dalton, 30-Lauren Kaskie
Head Coach: Rory Dames
North Carolina Courage Lineup: 1-Sabrina D’Angelo; 20-Yuri Kawammura, 13-Abby Dahlkemper, 15-Jalene Hinkle; 3-Makenzy Doniak (12-Ashley Hatch, 46), 5-Samantha Mewis (capt.), 7-McCall Zerboni; 10-Debinha (23-Kristen Hamilton, 73), 8-Rosana (11-Taylor Smith, 46), 14-Jessica McDonald, 9-Lynn Williams
Substitutes: 17-Courtney Niemiec, 25-Meredith Speck, 26-Sam Witteman, 99-Katelyn Rowland
Head Coach: Paul Riley
Stats Summary: CHI / NC
Shots on Goal: 8/5
Corner Kicks: 1/9
CHI – Casey Short (caution) 75’
CHI – Julie Ertz (caution) 90+4’
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Asst. Referees: Jeremy Weed, Francisco Bermudez
4th Official: John Collins