Red Stars Erase a 0-2 Halftime Deficit Late in the Match
Portland, OR (July 4, 2014) – It took until the final 15 minutes of the game, but the Red Stars showed grit in having a late come-from-behind surge to tie Portland 2-2 after being down two goals at halftime. Forward Christen Press led the charge, scoring her first goals of the season in the 76th and 82nd minutes.
“I’m proud of the team’s resilience to fight to come back in this game,” said Press. “From what I’ve seen and felt, that’s what being a Red Star is all about.”
Chicago did well defensively to put up a wall against the attacking prowess of Portland that at any time may feature Alex Morgan, Veronica Boquete, Christine Sinclair, or Tobin Heath. But they fell victim to set-pieces as the Thorns scored both of their goals off corner kicks. The first came in the 24th minute when a ball bounced out to Jess McDonald who perfectly placed a slowly lobbed ball over the reach of Red Stars keeper Karina LeBlanc. Merritt Mathias was credited with the assist.
The second Thorns goal came in the 38th when a ball was played in by Boquete in a give-and-go from the corner. She played a short pass in to Sarah Huffman, who took a touch and squeaked the ball through the Red Stars defense and past LeBlanc into the corner of the net for an early 2-0 Thorns lead.
It was an unlucky first half for the Red Stars who had several decent looks at goal in the first 45, including an early 10th minute breakaway by Jen Hoy who placed her shot just wide of goal. Thorns goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was a major reason the Red Stars did not get more shots early in the game, as she was playing heavily off her line to block many Chicago breakaways.
The Red Stars got a boost in the second half with substitute Zakiya Bywaters, who used her speed to torment the Thorns defense and get in behind their lines on a few occasions. Canadian international Melissa Tancredi made her presence felt immediately after she was substituted into the match when she got her foot on a cross from Vanessa DiBernardo for a half volley that nearly slipped past Angerer in the 73rd minute.
It would be the 76th minute when the Red Stars got themselves back in the game however as midfielder Emily Van Egmond played a quick ball from midfield towards Press, who touched the ball up the left side and took a low left-footed shot past Angerer, for her first-ever NWSL goal.
It would be Press again who evened the scoreline in the 82nd when she set herself up for a shot from the left side again, this time with a right footed heave that went into the far-side netting.
Both teams pressed heavily in the final minutes, plus stoppage time, but the Red Stars would feel satisfied coming away from their only trip to Portland with a vital road point that keeps then well in the playoff hunt.
“It was disappointing to give away two goals on corner kicks when we felt at halftime we easily could have been ahead in the game,” said Head Coach Rory Dames. “It was a great response in the final 20 minutes. Bywaters and Tancredi brought something different for us to the field today and Press showed her quality with two class finishes.”
The Red Stars finally return to Chicago for a homestand over their next 3 matches with the Thorns on July 9 and 17 and Seattle Reign FC in between on July 12. The Red Stars have a special 3-for-2 Pacific Northwest Pack where you can get tickets to all three home matches for the price of two games. For tickets, visit chicagoredstars.com/tickets/ or call 773-697-8699.
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