Lisle, IL – On a chilly, late April night in Lisle, the Chicago Red Stars suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Washington Spirit, in spite of putting heavy pressure on the visitors for much of the evening. A 50th minute goal by the Spirit’s Tori Huster, assisted by Danesha Adams, would be the lone goal of the evening.
“Games are won and lost in the box, and they were better than we were in the boxes today,” stated Head Coach Rory Dames. “I’m disappointed in the result, but I’m not disappointed in the performance. We’ll just have to play with a bit more sense of urgency from the start.”
The Red Stars spent a good portion of the first half on the attack in the Spirit’s defensive end, but were never able to capitalize when facing heavy wind-gusts head-on for the first 45 minutes.
The best chance of the first half came in stoppage time when rookie midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo played a ball across the top of the 18-yard box and Canadian midfielder Adriana Leon met it with a sharp left-footed blast that drifted just inches wide of the upright. The teams would head into the locker room knotted at 0-0 to start the second half.
In the 50th minute, the Spirit earned a free-kick, which was drilled by midfielder Yael Averbuch, but Red Stars veteran ‘keeper Karina LeBlanc made a diving save to push the ball out of play for a Washington corner kick. The Spirit would make no errors in the subsequent play when Adams was able to put a cross towards goal and found the head of Tori Huster, who found herself alone near the center of the goal, sending the Spirit up 1-0.
Just 3 minutes later, the Red Stars would have their own dangerous corner kick when defender Michelle Wenino battled for the win on the back post but her shot went just wide of the corner.
The next 20 minutes of the match would see the Spirit earn three yellow cards and the Red Stars one of their own, as each team battled for control in a heavily physical match.
The Red Stars turned up the heat in the final 5 minutes plus stoppage time. In the 85th minute, defender Jackie Santacaterina was able to block out a Spirit player on a lob from the right wing, but her shot went high and out of play. Shortly after, DiBernardo freed herself for a low left-footed shot, but it also rolled wide of the post.
Defender Rachel Quon took a harsh spin and momentarily stopped play as she lay on the pitch holding her knee. She eventually was able to walk herself off and rejoin the final minutes of the match.
The Red Stars continued their onslaught in the final minutes, with several close calls including a Quon cross that bounced to the foot of defender Julie Johnston, with another shot heading over the crossbar.
Despite their late, heavy attack, the Red Stars weren’t able to find the back of the net and suffered their first loss of the season, with a record of 1-1-0. The Spirit improve to two wins with a 2-2-0 record.
The Red Stars will now take to the road for their first away matches of the season, starting in Kansas City on Wednesday, April 30th, followed by a trip to New Jersey to meet Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, May 7th. The next home match for the Red Stars will be a Mother’s Day tilt with expansion side Houston Dash on Sunday, May 11th. All moms get in free with an accompanying paid ticket. Visit chicagoredstars.com for more information or call 773-697-8699/email firstname.lastname@example.org.