Allston, MA – The Red Stars found themselves tied 1-1 with Boston heading into halftime after an unlucky handball call led to a Breakers penalty kick scored by Heather O’Reilly, but they would respond in the second half with a 3-goal barrage leading to a 4-1 victory on the road. With the win, the Red Stars complete a road game sweep of the Breakers, earning 6 road points in 4 days and sending them up to 2nd place in the league standings. Red Stars goals scored by Michelle Wenino, Jen Hoy (assist Adriana Leon), Lori Chalupny (assist Vanessa DiBernardo), and Zakiya Bywaters.
“This was the first opportunity we’ve had as a team to get together for an extended period of time away from Chicago and I feel it has really helped our team chemistry,” said Team Captain Chalupny.
The Red Stars found spells of good possession in the first 15 minutes of the match. Their first solid attempt at goal was in the 11th minute when forward Hoy used her speed to break to the endline and put in a low cross. Unfortunately no one was there for the Red Stars to follow-up with a shot, but just after Chalupny would win the ball back and earn a corner. DiBernardo’s low corner kick found the head of Johnston and the Red Stars nearly had a replay of their first goal of the season, but her header flew wide of the post.
In the 20th minute DiBernardo played a beautiful corner kick directly across the front of the goal that would force Boston ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher to make a leaping dive to tip the ball out of harm’s way. Three minutes later she would play an identical ball that was headed by several Red Stars players and bobbled around in the box before defender Wenino got a foot on it and put it away to send the Red Stars up 1-0. It would be her second goal in as many games.
Boston started pressing more up-field but didn’t have any threatening shot attempts, until they were awarded a penalty kick in the 35th minute when English international Lianne Sanderson turned with the ball along the endline and looked to play a quick cross. Red Stars defender Samantha Johnson was there for the block but was called for a handball on the play as the ball hit her near the upper arm. Boston’s Heather O’Reilly stepped up and slotted the shot low and to the right corner to even the match.
The final ten minutes of the half were back and forth as each team looked for the go ahead goal but they would go into halftime knotted up at 1-apiece.
The Red Stars came out strong in the second half and put heavy pressure on the Boston backline. In the 50th minute, Leon played a long ball over the top of Boston’s defense to Hoy who was able to out-dribble their line and slot a low shot to the right corner of goal, past an onrushing Naeher, sending the Red Stars up 2-1.
In the 57th minute, it would be Hoy’s hard work again at play when she recovered to steal the ball from Breakers defender Cat Whitehill. She passed it off to DiBernardo who played a short ball to Chalupny on the left side. Naeher rushed off her line towards Chalupny and smothered her, but not before the Red Stars captain slotted a short pass into the net for a 3-1 lead.
The Red Stars continued their speed attack even after Hoy was substituted for fellow front-runner Zakiya Bywaters in the 78th minute. Boston fell victim to their own corner kick when Alyssa Mautz cleared the corner up-field to Bywaters who raced back past midfield to collect it, turn, and head off to the races. She outran two Boston players and took it the length of the field before making a nifty move around Naeher on the left side and placing home a low shot to the right corner that put the Red Stars up once and for all in the 85th.
Boston pressed hard the final 5 minutes plus stoppage, even earning several corner kicks, but the Red Stars have continued their streak of not allowing more than one opposing goal per match in holding them scoreless in the second half.
“The group is gradually starting to believe in themselves,” said Head Coach Rory Dames.
“Our players up front are starting to find form. It was always going to take time where we’d settle into a rhythm and build some belief.”
The Red Stars will be back on the road for their next two matches, starting with Houston on May 23 and New Jersey for a midweek match-up on May 28. The next home game for the Red Stars will be on Wednesday, June 4th for a rematch versus the Washington Spirit. For tickets, visit chicagoredstars.com/tickets/ or call 773-697-8699.