Sanchez, Kerr, Ertz and more in international action this past week

CHICAGO–The countdown to the World Cup continued this weekend for Red Stars players Sam Kerr, Casey Short, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, and Tierna Davidson as the U.S. Women’s National Team took on the Matildas in an international friendly ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The first half saw both teams tied at one goal apiece, and the momentum began to roll for the Matildas as Kerr notched an assist at the 47th minute to give her side the 2-1 lead.

The US answered with three goals in 14 minutes to regain the lead. Kerr, the newly appointed captain of the Australian women’s national team, sent a header past Naeher in the 81st minute to cut the lead to one. Naeher then contributed an assist on Mallory Pugh’s final goal to seal the U.S. win at a final score of 5-3.

“It’s always nice to play against the US,” Kerr said after the game. “It’s really competitive, and while they got the upper hand on us [today], it’s going to be a good World Cup.”

When asked about how it felt facing off against her Red Stars teammates and scoring on Naeher on the international stage, Kerr said, “It changes a little bit, but at the end of the day, you can’t have friends on the field. It’s fun and it’s nice and I’ll probably give Alyssa a hard time about that goal, but you know, that’s life.”

Ertz also had positive things to say about Kerr’s game from the opposite end of the field. “Of course…I understand the way she plays, but at the same time I do respect her and we need to know where she is at all times,” Ertz said.

“She’s so athletic and so good inside the 18. Where she is in her career is just amazing and she finishes goals and of course, like, I would say yes, it helps [to play alongside her], but it doesn’t change the fact that I want to know where she is on the field because she is that dangerous.”

The U.S. WNT also faced Belgium on Sunday, defeating the team 6-0 as Naeher and Ashlyn Harris combined for a shutout. Davidson played the full 90 minutes and got the third assist of her international career in the first goal of the game. Ertz started the first 45 minutes of the game, being subbed out prior to the start of the second half.

Mexican International and new Red Stars midfielder Maria Sanchez joined El Tri on their trip to the Netherlands, facing off against the Dutch National team and PSV Women. She was subbed on in the 55th minute in a 2-0 defeat to Holland and started the full 90 minutes against PSV in a 6-2 victory.

Chicago Red Stars on Twitter

Like @miseleccionmxEN said: they got that 🍞 Big win for @Maria17_7 and 🇲🇽! https://t.co/79iZqgX1zJ

Sanchez, Ertz, Kerr, Short, Davidson, and Naeher will return to Chicago as they open the NWSL season on Saturday, April 13 against the defending NWSL champs North Carolina Courage.

The Red Stars will make their home debut the following week on April 20 against the Portland Thorns, a doubleheader in collaboration with the Chicago Fire. The Fire will take on the Colorado Rapids at 12 p.m. CT, followed by the Red Stars game at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the doubleheader can be found here.

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