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July 2, 2024

Two Chicago Red Stars Receive National Women’s Soccer League Week 14 Honors

Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, and forward, Mallory Swanson received National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Week 14 honors, the league announced today. Naeher earns NWSL Save of the Week, presented by Deloitte, while Swanson earns the NWSL Goal of the Week award for their respective performances in Chicago’s 3-0 shutout of San Diego Wave FC June 28.

In the 51st minute of the June 28 road match, San Diego Wave forward, Jaedyn Shaw, worked her way into space a few yards outside the 18-yard box. With space, Shaw sent a strong shot from distance towards the upper right corner of the net. To Shaw’s misfortune, Alyssa Naeher was laser focused on the shot from the center of the line. Naeher sprang into action, jumping towards the ball and managing to get a hand on the ball to tip it just above the crossbar with a full extension at the last second. The save preserved Chicago’s 1-0 lead over the Wave and, ultimately, the clean sheet for Chicago.

Goal of the Week recipient Mallory Swanson would double the scoreline Naeher kept steady in the 67th minute. The goal’s lead up began with Red Stars rookie forward, Jameese Joseph, following San Diego’s back line passing the ball around outside their defensive third. Joseph moved forward from the midfield as the Wave’s Hanna Lundkvist looked to pass the ball towards San Diego’s attack, applying pressure and forcing the Wave defender to change direction. Joseph seized the moment with Lundkvist’s back turned to her, the rookie bringing herself shoulder-to-shoulder with her opponent, challenging for the ball and coming away with possession. Both Joseph and a wide-open Mallory Swanson put on bursts of speed as Swanson called for the ball, identifying yards of open space in the box beyond the last defender ahead of Joseph. An easy pass from Joseph placed the ball perfectly at Swanson’s feet, and after taking a single touch to control the ball, Swanson hammered a left-footed shot just outside the left corner of the six-yard box. San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan found herself backpedaling as the shot whistled in, looking like it might fly just above the net, but the ball lowered just enough to glance off the crossbar and into the back of the net. Swanson’s sixth goal of 2024 helped Chicago win the match with a 3-0 clean sheet and advanced Swanson into fourth position for the Golden Boot Race.

The Goal of the Week honor is Swanson’s first such award of her career and marks the first time a Red Star has earned the honor since 2019 (Sam Kerr, Week 16). Naeher’s eighth career Save of the Week honor is the keeper’s second in 2024, following her Week 1 Save of the Week win March 20. Naeher is the second Red Star to earn two Save of the Week honors in 2024, joining fellow Week 15 Save of the Week nominee, defender and Orland Park native, Tatumn Milazzo, who won back-to-back Save of the Week awards in Weeks 4 and 5.

Naeher, Swanson and the Red Stars return home from a three-week road trip to host the Houston Dash July 6. Gates open at 11 a.m. CT for Kids Day celebrations at SeatGeek Stadium July 6 before kickoff at 12 p.m. CT. Tickets to Chicago Red Stars home matches can be purchased at chicagoredstars.com/tickets. Following the match, three-time Olympian Naeher and two-time Olympian Swanson will join the United States Olympic Women’s Soccer Team for a pair of send-off matches prior to departing for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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