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NWSL blockbuster match to be replayed at a later date

By Gunnar Berndt

Chicago, Ill. – The NWSL-leading Chicago Red Stars saw their highly anticipated clash with second-place Washington Spirit fall victim to inclement weather on Saturday. It was a fitting end to a bizarre night that saw the match halted for over three and a half hours due to lightning in the area, then resumed and finally called off completely following a controversial offside call on a goal by Chicago’s Sofia Huerta and the go-ahead tally at the other end by Washington’s Megan Oyster.

After some good, early pressure by the Red Stars, their opponents managed to get a better grip on the game and nearly took the lead at the quarter-hour mark. Chicago midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo’s mishit pass back toward the defense inadvertently served to spring the Spirit’s Amanda Da Costa on the right side of the area and the attacker picked out Crystal Dunn in the center, only for the striker’s first-time shot to whistle just wide of the left post.

It would be the final noteworthy chance before the match was first delayed at 7:24 p.m. local time. A whopping three hours and 46 minutes later, the two teams resumed play and treated the few brave fans who had stuck around to some quality soccer until the action was suspended once more at 11:30 p.m. local time and never started up again, the match being scheduled for a full replay at a later date.

It might have been just as well for the Red Stars, who had fallen behind moments after thinking they had taken the lead. Chicago’s Huerta had her strike on a scramble in the box wiped away by an offside call that replays later revealed to have been highly questionable, followed by Illinois native Oyster’s first-time finish on a corner kick from the right to give the Spirit the lead in the 38th minute. The visitors’ joy was short-lived, as the game was suspended mere moments later and all the stats nixed.

The Chicago Red Stars next travel to take on Sky Blue FC on Sunday, June 28, followed by two more road fixtures against Houston Dash and Boston Breakers. The club then returns home for a meeting with Boston on Saturday, July 18. Single-game and season tickets for the 2015 Red Stars campaign may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 773-698-6001.

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