Early Colaprico goal holds up for dominant NWSL side

Verona, Wis. – The Chicago Red Stars registered their second victory in as many NWSL preseason matches on Friday night, grabbing a 1-0 result over hosts University of Wisconsin Madison. U-23 U.S. international Danielle Colaprico’s early finish turned out to be the day’s only tally, as the Red Stars dominated possession over the course of the 90 minutes but struggled to break through a determined opposition defense.

Colaprico’s game-winner came in the second minute of play, as the attacker cleaned up a parry by the Wisconsin goalkeeper, who had done well to deny the initial drive by Alyssa Mautz. The strike would remain one of few highlights in the opening period, with the Badgers looking to frustrate their professional counterparts by dropping deep, closing down space and fighting hard for every loose ball.

With the college players’ legs getting noticeably heavier after the break, Chicago found a few more openings in the Badgers backline. In the 50th minute, 2015 draft pick and Wisconsin alum Cara Walls saw her effort saved without a rebound, followed by a powerful Michelle Lomnicki hit that forced the opposition netminder to pounce on her initial bobble.

After a total of four substitutions by Chicago Head Coach Rory Dames, the visitors had their best look of the second half when former Santa Clara star Sofia Huerta fired a low shot that whistled just wide of the left post. Huerta’s teammate Vanessa DiBernardo tried her luck on a late-game free-kick from 30 yards out, only to see her stinging blast handled well by the Badgers shot-stopper.

The Red Stars were nearly punished for the missed opportunities, as they had their goalkeeper Michele Dalton to thank for rushing off her line moments from the final whistle to intercept a cross that had skipped past two defenders and seemed destined for a well-positioned attacker.

Next up on the NWSL club’s preseason schedule is a March 29 intra-squad scrimmage at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex. The scrimmage is open to the public and will be followed by a catered postgame meet-the-team event. Tickets for the day’s happenings (game $5, meet-the-team event $20) are available here or via 773-698-6001.

Chicago’s next meeting with a college opponent is on April 4, as the team travels to St. Louis to take on University of Missouri and Iowa State University, with 45 minutes scheduled for each fixture.

The 2015 Chicago Red Stars season kicks off on April 18 with the team’s big home opener against Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe, and current Shield holders Seattle Reign FC. Single-game and season tickets ($145) may be purchased by clicking here or calling 773-698-6001.

Chicago Red Stars at University of Wisconsin Madison 1-0
Venue: Goodman Pitch at Reddan Park, Verona, Wis.
Kickoff time: 7 p.m. CT

Red Stars starting lineup:
Dalton, Hemmings, Jakes, Johnson, Gilliland, Lomnicki, Colaprico, DiBernardo, Mautz, Walls, Huerta

Goal: 1-0 Colaprico (2’)

Cautions/Ejections: None

Red Stars substitutions:
Jayden Barrett for Leigh Jakes (59’)
Rachel Tejada for Cara Walls (61’)
Jen Hoy for Alyssa Mautz (69’)
Kelley McCloskey for Arin Gilliland (73’)
Lillie Toaspern for Sofia Huerta (85’)

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