Red Stars remain undefeated as Colaprico bags first professional goal
Chicago, Illinois – The Chicago Red Stars controlled play and remained undefeated in their third match of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) campaign on Saturday, defeating visiting Sky Blue FC 1-0 behind rookie midfielder Danielle Colaprico’s first tally of her professional career. While the affair served as the Send-Off event for five of Chicago’s eight World-Cup-bound stars, their opponents from New Jersey were already without all of their players who will be competing in this summer’s tournament.
The home side didn’t waste any time in the opening half, creating the first close look in the 5th minute of play. Defender Taryn Hemmings flew up the right wing and sent an excellent cross to the far post, where it was headed just over the bar by Vanessa DiBernardo. Just four minutes later, the Red Stars’ high pressure nearly paid off when DiBernardo came close to taking the ball off goalkeeper Brittany Cameron’s foot for what would have been an easy finish into the empty net.
Head Coach Rory Dames’ side created its next dangerous opportunity mere moments later, Colaprico releasing Lori Chalupny down the left and the U.S. Women’s National Team star’s centering ball begging to be tapped home at the doorstep, only to go untouched and trickle wide of the far post.
Reigning NWSL Player of the Month Christen Press had a double-chance to open the scoring in the 18th minute of the match. First her left footed effort from long range forced a diving stop by Cameron, then the California native fired over the frame from a promising position inside the area. Press caused havoc yet again halfway through the first period, this time with the help of Chalupny, who sprinted down the left and saw her excellent first-time centering pass fired just wide by her fellow U.S. international.
After an uneventful finish to the half, the home side came out of the break with guns blazing, and their persistence finally paid off in the 54th minute. Colaprico saw her initial blast from just inside the box blocked by the face of teammate Julie Johnston, but the 21-year-old would not be denied on the rebound, as she smashed a left-footed rocket past the outstretched Cameron for the go-ahead goal.
The game subsequently quieted down significantly, as the fans at Benedictine University had to wait until a quarter-hour from the end for another noteworthy chance. Chicago captain Chalupny drove into the penalty area on the left and released a right-footed laser that was tipped over in spectacular fashion by Cameron.
Red Stars netminder Karina LeBlanc had her best save of the night in the 86th minute, diving to her right to keep out a dangerous Hayley Haagsma header off an in-swinging free-kick from a wide position. Deep into stoppage time, substitute Cara Walls nearly sealed the deal at the other end, as she found herself one-on-one with goalkeeper Cameron, who pounced on a brief lack of concentration to defuse the danger. It would be the final opportunity of the match, as the hosts held on for a crucial victory.
The Chicago Red Stars look to earn their third win in four NWSL fixtures when they take on Boston Breakers next Saturday in a doubleheader with MLS outfit Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Naperville. Single-game and season tickets for the 2015 Red Stars campaign may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 773-698-6001.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC 1-0
Venue: Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, Benedictine University, Lisle, IL.
Kickoff Time: 5 p.m. CT
Red Stars starting lineup:
LeBlanc, Hemmings, Johnson, Johnston, Boxx, DiBernardo, Chalupny (C), Colaprico, Huerta, Hoy, Press
Sky Blue FC starting lineup:
Cameron (C), Levin, Grubka, Haagsma, Cutshall, Freels, Killion, Gordon, Lytle, Nadim, Hayes
Goal: Colaprico CRS 54’
Nadim SBFC – Yellow (86’)
Red Stars substitutions:
Gilliland for Huerta (62’)
Walls for Hoy (65’)
Erceg for Colaprico (90+)
Sky Blue FC substitutions:
Morris for Lytle (61’)
DeCesare for Hayes (71’)
LaBonta for Levin (81’)