BRIDGEVIEW, IL. – The Chicago Red Stars kicked off their 2014 National Women’s Soccer League season with a 1-0 win over Western New York Flash at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, in front of a crowd of 15,743, following the Chicago Fire 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution. The lone goal of the evening came in the 59th minute of play from Red Stars defender Julie Johnston, off a corner kick from Naperville, Illinois, native Vanessa DiBernardo.
“It took us a bit to settle in, and the Flash is not an easy team to solve,” said Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames. “ But I think it was a good outing for us. I’m pleased with our younger players and I’m obviously pleased with the outcome.
In the first 45 minutes, the Red Stars went head to head with Western New York Flash, with both teams possessing the ball equally. The Red Stars were only able to get two shots on goal, with their best opportunity coming in the 35th minute when Julie Johnston sent a ball over the crossbar off of a corner kick from Vanessa DiBernardo. This same play would result in the team’s game-winning goal in the second half. The Flash challenged the Red Stars, taking 3 shots on goal and pressuring hard during the final minutes of the half. Flash midfielder Carli Lloyd was booked in the 43rd minute with a yellow card after taking down DiBernardo.
The Red Stars began the second half with a lineup change, subbing in Zakiya Bywaters for forward Adriana Leon. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm for the first few minutes, but the Red Stars picked up their momentum after a series of combination plays from team captain Lori Chalupny, forward Zakiya Bywaters and midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo. In the 59th minute of play DiBernardo stepped up to take Chicago’s only corner of the half, and connected with defender Julie Johnston who headed the ball past Flash keeper Lydia Williams. The Flash fought back with quality balls from defender and team captain Brittany Taylor, but in the end, the Red Stars held on to the lead, and earned three points on the night.
“It was so great to kick off this season with a win,” said Red Stars defender Julie Johnston. “It was exciting to step out onto the field tonight for my first professional match. The atmosphere here at Toyota Park was great.”
The Red Stars return to their home stadium, the Village of Lisle Benedictine University Sports Complex on April 26 at 7pm when they take on Washington Spirit. For tickets, or for more information, please visit chicagoredstars.com/tickets.
GOALS 1 2 F
Chicago Red Stars 0 1 1
Western NY Flash 0 0 0
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 59’ Chicago Red Stars Julie Johnston Vanessa DiBernardo
CHICAGO RED STARS: Karina LeBlanc, Julie Johnston, Rachel Quon, Michelle Wenino, Jackie Santacaterina, Vanessa DiBernardo, Lori Chalupny(C), Julianne Sitch, Alyssa Mautz, Adriana Leon, Jen Hoy
WESTERN NY FLASH: Lydia Williams, Samantha Kerr, Angela Salem, McCall Zerboni, Carli Lloyd, Adriana Martin, Brittany Taylor (C), Vicky Losada, Katherine Reynolds, Amy Barczuk, Haley Palmer