Has lost by the same score in three straight road games against title contenders

By Gunnar Berndt

Germantown, Md. – Playing in their third straight away game and their third straight against a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) title contender, the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday suffered their third straight 2-0 defeat, this time falling to Washington Spirit at Germantown’s Maryland SoccerPlex. Hosts Washington bagged all three points courtesy of strikes by Estefania Banini in the first half and substitute Katie Stengel after the break.

In a fairly uneventful opening period, the Spirit grabbed the lead on the first quality look for either team. A nice give-and-go between Argentinian attacker Banini and Francisca Ordega in the 20th minute saw Banini sprint into the box left of center for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Michele Dalton, followed by a calm finish inside the far post to make it 1-0.

The Red Stars could have drawn level five minutes after the half-hour mark, Vanessa DiBernardo’s far-post header on an Arin Gilliland cross from the left flashing just wide right of the frame. Washington subsequently seemed to have a point-blank chance at the other end, but Chicago goalkeeper Michele Dalton’s foot save was purely for optics, as striker Ordega had been called for a foul. It would be the final noteworthy action of the half.

The Red Stars had perhaps their best opportunity to score at the hour mark, as substitute Jannelle Flaws sprinted down the right flank and chipped a pinpoint accurate service toward the streaking Gilliland. Positioned on the left side of the penalty area, the Kentucky native intelligently headed the ball back in the direction from where it had come, forcing opposition netminder Kelsey Wys to leave her feet for a one-handed save.

Five minutes later, Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco ventured forward and released a rocket from well outside the box that seemed destined for the upper ninety, if not for a spectacular fingertip parry by goalkeeper Michele Dalton to touch the ball around the left upright. Thanks to the stunning display of shot-stopping, Dalton will no doubt be a serious contender for NWSL Save of the Week, at the same time costing Dydasco what would have been a likely NWSL Goal of the Week nomination.

Washington Head Coach Jim Gabarra looked like a genius in the 74th minute of play, as forward Stengel doubled her side’s lead less than 30 seconds after entering the match. Nairn swung in a well-placed corner kick from the right and Stengel took advantage of being left unmarked by nodding the ball down and past the helpless Dalton for a simple tally from close range.

The home side created another headed opportunity six minutes later, with another substitute, Cheyna Williams, crashing the far post and sending the ball just wide right on a Stengel cross from the left. Chicago had a quality look of its own in the 84th minute, DiBernardo pouncing on a mishit clearance and firing first-time from just inside the area, only to see her bouncing effort whistle past the left post and behind for a goal-kick.

The day’s final quality chance came at the other end, as Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman showed outstanding awareness on a counterattack by punting the ball forward and into the path of Stengel, who passed it along to a wide-open Banini. The 26-year-old appeared all but certain to bag her second goal of the game until her first touch let her down, allowing Dalton to intervene and collect.

The Chicago Red Stars look to snap a three-game losing streak away from home when they travel to take on Orlando Pride on Saturday, July 16. Head Coach Rory Dames’ squad returns home on July 23 for a highly anticipated Pride Night clash with Houston Dash. Individual and season tickets for the Red Stars’ 2016 campaign at Toyota Park in Bridgeview may be purchased by calling 773-697-8699 or by clicking here.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars at Washington Spirit 0-2
Date: July 9, 2016
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex, Germantown, Md.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,631

Scoring Summary:

  1 2 T
WAS 1 1 2
CHI 0 0 0

Lineups:

WAS: 18-Kelsey Wys Goalkeeper; 3-Caprice Dydasco Right Back, 4-Megan Oyster Center Back, 24-Estelle Johnson Center Back, 22-Alyssa Kleiner Left Back; 15-Joanna Lohman Right Midfielder, 23-Tori Huster Midfielder, 7-Christine Nairn Left Midfielder [capt. (5-Whitney Church Substitute 83’)]; 10-Estefania Banini Forward, 14-Francisca Ordega Forward (12-Katie Stengel Substitute 73’), 17-Cali Farquharson Forward (20-Cheyna Williams Substitute 58’)
Subs not used: 36-DiDi Haracic Goalkeeper, 21-Alli Murphy Substitute
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra

CHI: 18-Michele Dalton Goalkeeper; 3-Arin Gilliland Right Back, 5-Katie Naughton Center Back, 16-Samantha Johnson Center Back, 6-Casey Short Left Back; 4-Alyssa Mautz Right Midfielder [2-Jen Hoy Substitute 46’ (34-Mary Luba Substitute 80’)], 10-Vanessa DiBernardo Midfielder (capt.), 24-Danielle Colaprico Midfielder, 7-Taylor Comeau Midfielder, 13-Amanda DaCosta Left Midfielder (20-Jannelle Flaws Substitute 46’); 11-Sofia Huerta Forward
Subs not used: 33-Brianna Smallidge Goalkeeper, 14-Sarah Gorden Substitute, 15-Courtney Raetzman Substitute, 12-Cara Walls Substitute
Head Coach: Rory Dames

Stats Summary: WAS / CHI
Shots: 10 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 2 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
CHI – Alyssa Mautz (yellow card; reckless foul) 42’
WAS – Francisca Ordega (yellow card; reckless foul) 47’

Officials:
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referee 1: Cory Richardson
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Felice
Fourth Official: Jordan Gray

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