Chicago Picks Up Crucial Win With Two Matches Remaining
Lisle, IL (August 9, 2014) – The Red Stars put together an important performance in what was considered a must-win situation as they defeated visitors FC Kansas City 2-1 to keep their playoff hopes alive for one of the final slots for the post-season race. Goals scored by Melissa Tancredi and Christen Press. KC goal scored by Morgan Marlborough.
“We basically started the playoffs today,” said Head Coach Rory Dames. “This keeps our season alive. We came out well and scored two good goals, as well as Karina (LeBlanc) making three big saves. That’s the best ‘team’ win we’ve had since all the new players came in.”
In the 9th minute, Christen Press received the ball near midfield and pushed it forward to run onto it. She broke through the KC defense before getting a shot off that was deflected by the Blues keeper. Luckily for the Red Stars, Canadian forward Melissa Tancredi was following the shot and ran into the pathway to bury the ball into the net and put the Red Stars on the board early.
The Red Stars did well to hit the endline several times in the first half including a break by defender Julie Johnston in the 21st that was good for an earned corner kick and another by Press in the 28th that she handed perfectly to midfielder Alyssa Mautz. Mautz caught the ball awkwardly and her shot went just wide of the net.
Chicago doubled their lead in the 40th when defender Taryn Hemmings received a long ball up field, and played a short pass forward to Press. Press took a few touches and set herself up for a perfect chip with the outside of her right foot into the net to put the Red Stars up by 2.
But Kansas City came alive the final few minutes of the first half when Merritt Mathias escaped up the right sideline and crossed to Morgan Marlborough standing in front of the net. She had no problem slotting the ball away to put KC on the board in the 41st. Just moments later, Lauren Holiday turned and blasted a shot that would have leveled the match, but Red Stars keeper Karina LeBlanc came up big with a diving save to keep Chicago on top heading into halftime.
In the 63rd minute, the Red Stars earned the opportunity to go up 3 goals to 1 when second-half substitute Adriana Leon took a 20 yard shot from wide that rolled perfectly behind the right post. Unfortunately the ball hit a support beam inside the net and ricocheted back out. With no whistle blown, play was allowed to resume and the goal was not counted.
The final 30 minutes of the match were a back and forth affair as the Red Stars pushed for a third goal and KC looked for the tie. Chicago held on and secured the all-important victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are now just 2 points behind Portland and 3 points behind Washington with two games remaining on the year, in what will be an exciting finale.
“We played a really good team tonight so we just need to keep it going,” said Tancredi. “We have a lot of things to fix as well so we need to bring our best game against on Wednesday against Boston.”
Next up is the Boston Breakers visiting on Wednesday, August 13, followed by the regular season closer with WNY Flash on Saturday, August 16. Both matches will kickoff at 7 p.m. CT. at Village of Lisle – Benedictine University Sports Complex. For tickets, visit chicagoredstars.com/tickets/ or call 773-697-8699.