Early Colaprico strike, impressive DiBernardo not enough against ruthless Dash

By Gunnar Berndt

Chicago, Ill. – The Chicago Red Stars drew 1-1 with visiting National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) rivals Houston Dash on Saturday night, conceding a late equalizer after leading for 80 minutes in match that saw Chicago midfielder Danielle Colaprico score early for her first tally of 2016. After Red Stars veteran Vanessa DiBernardo had several chances to seal the deal for her side, Rachel Daly broke Chicago fans’ hearts by finding the net on Houston’s first dangerous opportunity of the contest.

Having patiently waited for some inclement weather to pass, DiBernardo and company came out guns blazing and did not waste any time in grabbing the lead. On a second-minute corner-kick from the left, the former University of Illinois ace played the ball short to Colaprico, who cut to her right and fired a shot through traffic that deflected off an opposition player and found its way inside the near post. Midfielder DiBernardo would subsequently come close to adding a goal to her assist on three separate occasions before the halftime whistle.

In the 18th minute, the 24-year-old nearly capitalized on an unintentional layoff by Arin Gilliland when she struck the ball from the right corner of the area, only to see her curling effort sail just high of the opposite upper ninety. DiBernardo’s second miss was of the agonizing kind, as she released a 21st-minute rocket from long range that left netminder Bianca Henninger helpless and smashed off the crossbar. The Chicago captain’s final first-time hit came late in the opening period and whistled just wide of the left post, Gilliland having picked out her unmarked teammate inside the box with a low ball from the right.

After a fairly uneventful 22 minutes to open the second half, the DiBernardo show continued at Toyota Stadium, with the Red Stars’ 2015 assists leader taking a corner kick from the left and again opting to play it short to Colaprico. Drawing the attention of a nearby defender, New Jersey native Colaprico made a move away from goal before catching the entire Dash defense off guard by releasing Illinois native DiBernardo with a clever backheel pass. Sprinting into the penalty without an opposition player in sight, the attacker rifled a right-footed attempt on frame that was cleared off the line by Denise O’Sullivan.

The hosts were punished for the missed opportunities when visiting Houston converted its first quality opportunity of the match into the all-important equalizer. In the 82nd minute of play, Kealia Ohai isolated Katie Naughton on the left flank and managed to drive toward the byline, from where she sent a centering ball into the penalty area that found the feet of Daly. Facing away from goal, the English forward displayed outstanding skill in turning in tight space and firing a low, right-footed shot inside the near post to earn her side a point.

The Red Stars look to extend their unbeaten run in NWSL play to three games when they host defending champs FC Kansas City on Saturday, July 30. Tickets to the 2016 season 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. Houston Dash 1-1
Date: July 23, 2016
Venue: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. CT)
Attendance: 3,621

Scoring Summary:

1 2 T
CHI 1 0 1
HOU 0 1 1

CHI – Danielle Colaprico 2’ (Vanessa DiBernardo)
HOU – Rachel Daly 82’ (Kealia Ohai)

Lineups:

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; 11-Sofia Huerta Right Midfielder, 24-Danielle Colaprico Midfielder, 10-Vanessa DiBernardo Midfielder (capt.), 7-Taylor Comeau Left Midfielder; 12-Cara Walls Forward (9-Stephanie McCaffrey Substitute 85’), 2-Jen Hoy Forward (4-Alyssa Mautz Substitute 61’)
Subs not used: 33-Brianna Smallidge Goalkeeper, 14-Sarah Gorden Substitute, 15-Courtney Raetzman Substitute, 34-Mary Luba Substitute, 20-Jannelle Flaws Substitute
Head Coach: Rory Dames

HOU: 1-Bianca Henninger Goalkeeper; 25-Megan Crosson Right Back, 5-Cari Roccaro Center Back, 8-Ellie Brush Center Back, 23-Cami Privett Left Back; 7-Kealia Ohai Right Midfielder, 12-Amber Brooks Midfielder, 13-Denise O’Sullivan Midfielder, 22-Stephanie Ochs Left Midfielder (19-Tessa Florio-Gavilsky Substitute 81’); 9-Chioma Ubogagu Forward (21-Melissa Henderson Substitute 66’), 3-Rachel Daly Forward
Subs not used: 31-Kate Scheele Goalkeeper, 16-Monica Alvarado Substitute, 27-Caity Heap Substitute, 24-Anna Maria Gilbertson Substitute
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum

Stats Summary: CHI / HOU
Shots: 9 / 6
Shots on Goal: 2 / 3
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 8 / 10
Fouls: 9 / 7
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
HOU – Megan Crosson (yellow card; reckless foul) 64’

Officials:
Referee: Levi Rippy
Assistant Referee 1: TJ Zablocki
Assistant Referee 2: Maggie Short
Fourth Official: Kali Langevin
Fifth Official: Ali Saheli

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