CHICAGO – While the lineup for Chicago has changed every game due to injuries and scheduling, it was Houston who looked like a new team.
On Saturday, Chicago hosted the Houston Dash for the final time this season and saw Kealia Ohai and Kyah Simon return to the Starting XI, while Allysha Chapman joined the lineup after being traded from North Carolina. In addition, Rachel Daly was moved to the attack and Kristie Mewis transitioned back to the central midfield.
After an error at half field, Daly was able to attack the Red Stars backline and Alyssa Naeher before striking the ball perfectly in the seventh minute to put Houston up by one.
But Chicago has never been one to give up. After battling through the past games despite not having the power of Julie Ertz, Vanessa DiBernardo, Casey Short and Rosie White, the team came together. In the 20th minute, Arin Gilliland, who has floated between forward and outside back this season, intercepted a pass from Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell, and unselfishly found Sam Kerr making a run in the box. Kerr would slot the ball easily into the net to tie the game.
Immediately to start the second half, Chicago found themselves down once again after a set play for Houston was finished perfectly.
It would once again be Gilliland to the rescue for Chicago. In the 65th minute, Gilliland struck a ball from outside the box that would hit the hand of a Houston player that was deemed a penalty. Sofia Huerta, April’s NWSL Player of the Month, stepped up and slotted the shot perfectly to tie the game for Chicago.
The end result was another tie for Chicago, the fifth of the season, but this one felt more disappointing then the rest. Despite showing flairs of dominance, the Red Stars were unable to capitalize on opportunities.
However, positive outlook remains. Julie Ertz was in the starting lineup for the first time this season. After injuring her knee in U.S. camp, Ertz injured her back after earning her first minutes of the season in Washington. The relationships on the field will continue to grow as Chicago gains full strength in their lineup.
Chicago returns to the field to take on Seattle on the road this Saturday, May 19, at 9:00 p.m. CT. The Red Stars will come back home next week, May 26, to take on Orlando Pride in the Lifetime Game of the Week. Tickets are available for the annual Pride Game here.