Press, Walls and Huerta tally three goals at home
CHICAGO – Without the efforts of star goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and forward Stephanie McCaffrey due to injuries, the Chicago Red Stars defeated Washington Spirit 3-1 in their final match of the 2016 regular season in front of a home crowd of 3,712 fans.
The Red Stars started the game strong with a goal in the sixth minute of play. It all began with Vanessa DiBernardo splitting two Washington defenders perfectly to the feet of a flying Christen Press. The U.S. International collected the ball and ran toward the end line, back tracking and curling a ball in the upper 90 of the net.
Minutes later, Washington charged down the field with purpose, as Crystal Dunn was able to send a rocket toward the net, but Chicago goalkeeper Michele Dalton was there to parry it away for the first huge save of the match.
In the 26th minute, Chicago upped its lead, 2-0, after Sofia Huerta poked a short pass to Cara Walls, who blasted a low ball past a diving Kelsey Wys. Chicago continued to attack as Press received the ball at midfield, taking it all the way down the pitch to beat a strong Spirit backline. She struck the ball right to hands of Wys, who was able to scoop up the save.
Washington nearly got on the board when Crystal Dunn bypassed all Chicago defense and shot the ball, but just and skimmed passed the post. The Red Stars took the lead going into halftime, 2-0.
Just as the second half whistle blew, Huerta was able to weave through several Spirit defenders, striking the ball on the outside of the 18-yard box, soaring right into the back of the net, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead.
After a strong first half, Dunn would counter just a minute later for Washington when she scored from the top of the box, narrowing the deficit, 3-1. Dalton came up big for Chicago in the 67th minute after Spirit corner kick resulted in a bouncing ball toward the goal, where Dalton was able to catch it on the goal line. Dalton and the Red Stars held off the scoring powers of the Spirit, finishing the match 3-1.
Chicago has yet to find out their opponents for the NWSL semifinals. If Portland wins or ties Sky Blue FC on Sunday, Chicago will travel to Washington to take on the Spirit on Friday, September 30 at 7 p.m. CT. However, if Portland falls to Sky Blue, they will host the Red Stars on Sunday, October 2 at 5 p.m. ET. All semifinal matches will be broadcast live on FS1.
– Chicago Red Stars Match Report –
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit
Date: September 24, 2016
Venue: Toyota Park; Chicago, Illinois
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Weather: 74 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
CHI 2 1 3
WAS 0 1 1
CHI – Christen Press (Vanessa DiBernardo) – 6′
CHI – Cara Walls (Sofia Huerta) – 26′
CHI – Sofia Huerta – 46′
WAS – Crystal Dunn – 47;
CHI: 18-Michele Dalton; 3-Arin Gilliland, 8-Julie Johnston, 16-Samantha Johnson, 6-Casey Short; 24-Danielle Colaprico, 10-Vanessa DiBernardo, 11-Sofia Huerta (5-Katie Naughton, 89); 7-Taylor Comeau (4-Alyssa Mautz, 67), 23-Christen Press (capt.), 12-Cara Walls (2-Jen Hoy, 80)
Subs not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 9-Stephanie McCaffrey, 13-Amanda Da Costa, 14-Sarah Gorden, 15-Courtney Raetzman, 34-Mary Luba
Head Coach: Rory Dames
WAS: 18-Kelsey Wys; 11-Ali Krieger (capt.), 5-Whitney Church, 24-Estelle Johnson, 2-Caprice Dydasco; 23-Tori Huster, 7-Christine Nairn, 15-Joanna Lohman (10-Estefania Banini, 81); 8-Diana Matheson (20-Cheyna Williams, 60), 12-Katie Stengel (14-Francisca Ordega, 60), 19-Crystal Dunn
Subs not used: 1-Stephanie Labbe, 4-Megan Oyster, 6-Shelina Zadorsky, 17-Cali Farquharson, 22-Alyssa Kleiner, 27-Line Sigvardsen Jensen, 57-Laura del Rio
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Stats Summary: CHI / WAS
Shots: 11 / 17
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 7 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 1
Offside: 4 / 3
Misconduct Summary: none
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Maggie Short
4th Official: Edgar Osorio