Dominant Red Stars remain unbeaten at home, reclaim top spot in NWSL standings

By Gunnar Berndt

Chicago, Ill. – The Chicago Red Stars reclaimed first place in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) standings on Saturday evening, courtesy of a 3-0 victory over visiting Boston Breakers that saw Sofia Huerta score once in each half and defender Casey short add another goal after the break. In an overall impressive performance by the home team, midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo bagged a pair of assists while goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher recorded her fifth shutout in her eighth game of 2016.

The Red Stars did not waste any time in grabbing the lead, as Huerta added her name to the score sheet in just the third minute of play, Vanessa DiBernardo releasing a low drive from the left side of the penalty area that was tapped home from close range by her fellow attacker. A mere eight minutes later, Chicago’s U.S. ace Christen Press had her first close look of the match, as she took the opposition by surprise with a quick turn right outside the box and a right-footed rocket that whistled narrowly over the bar.

Left back Short thought she had doubled her side’s lead on a Press through-ball just after the half-hour mark, but her finish past onrushing goalkeeper Libby Stout was disallowed for offside. Press was involved in yet another close look moments from the halftime whistle, sending a low ball in from the left side of the area that took a dangerous deflection off a Boston players leg at the near post and ended up in the outside netting.

If some of the fans at Toyota Park had missed striker Huerta’s first-half tally because they had been looking for their seats, even more no doubt missed the 23-year-old’s second of the match, which came less than two minutes after the break. Put through by Alyssa Mautz on the right edge of the area, Huerta released a powerful rocket that took a slight touch off the fingertips of the fully extended Stout and found its way inside the far post to make it 2-0.

Having previously been called back for offside Chicagoland native Short would not be denied in the 62nd minute. Press’ beautiful curling free-kick from just outside the box had forced Stout to leave her feet and parry the ball wide, with Huerta doing well to keep the attack alive and finding Vanessa DiBernardo on the left side of the penalty area. The 2015 team assists leader, second in NWSL, sent somewhat of an awkward effort toward goal and Short did well to slide into the ball for a determined first-time strike from short range.

Five minutes after the tally, Press had another outstanding opportunity, as she received the ball on the right side of the box before taking a couple of deft touches and firing on frame to force a point-blank block from Stout. After a flurry of substitution, California native Press then came close to finding the net one last time, on a play that summed up the game for the league’s current top goal-scorer. On a counter-attack, she sprinted in on goal with no defender in sight and tried to round Stout, only to be forced to the right and see her subsequent effort from a tight angle touched behind by the Boston netminder.

After a four-game road swing, the Chicago Red Stars look to remain unbeaten at home and avenge their only loss of the year thus far when they take on visiting Houston Dash on July 23. Individual and season tickets for the team’s 2016 campaign at Toyota Park in Bridgeview may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 773-697-8699

NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Boston Breakers 3-0
Date: June 18, 2016
Venue: Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 2,553

Scoring Summary:

1 2 T
CHI 1 2 3
BOS 0 0 0

CHI – Sofia Huerta 3’ (Vanessa DiBernardo)
CHI – Sofia Huerta 47’ (Alyssa Mautz)
CHI – Casey Short 62’ (Vanessa DiBernardo)

Lineups:

CHI: 1-Alyssa Naeher Goalkeeper; 3-Arin Gilliland Right Back, 8-Julie Johnston Center Back, 16-Samantha Johnson Center Back, 6-Casey Short Left Back; 4-Alyssa Mautz Right Midfielder, 10-Vanessa DiBernardo Midfielder (7-Taylor Comeau Substitute, 83’) , 24-Danielle Colaprico Midfielder, 13-Amanda DaCosta Left Midfielder (15-Courtney Raetzman Substitute, 70’) ; 11-Sofia Huerta Forward (2-Jen Hoy Substitute, 68’) , 23-Christen Press Forward (capt.)
Subs not used: 18-Michele Dalton Goalkeeper, 5-Katie Naughton Substitute, 14-Sarah Gorden Substitute, 12-Cara Walls Substitute
Head Coach: Rory Dames

BOS: 1-Libby Stout Goalkeeper; 4-Whitney Engen Defender, 5-Kassey Kallman Defender, 6-Julie King Defender, 20-Mollie Pathman Defender (21-Christen Westphal Substitute, 52’) , 23-Brooke Elby; 10-Louise Schillgard Midfielder, 19-Kristie Mewis Midfielder (24-Rachel Wood Substitute, 73’) , 26-Angela Salem Midfielder; 9-Stephanie McCaffrey Forward (27-Eunice Backman Substitute, 59’) ; 17-Kyah Simon Forward
Subs not used: 2-Jami Kranich Goalkeeper, 22-Stephanie Verdoia Substitute, 88-Katie Schoepfer Substitute, 11-Brittany Ratcliffe Substitute
Head Coach: Matt Beard

Stats Summary: CHI / BOS
Shots: 16 / 7
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 0
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 10 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
BOS – Louise Schillgard (yellow card; defensive handling) 55’
CHI – Sofia Huerta (yellow card; reckless foul) 56’
CHI – Eunice Beckman (yellow card; defensive handling) 61’
BOS – Kyah Simon (yellow card; defensive handling) 94+

Officials:
Referee: Danielle Brzezesinski-Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner
Assistant Referee 2: Adrienne McDonald
Fourth Official: Alex Beehler
Fifth Official: Kimberly Oberle

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