Chicago, IL (May 12th, 2013) – On a chilly Mother’s Day evening, the Chicago Red Stars found themselves fighting an early deficit to Portland after a third-minute goal by Thorns star Alex Morgan. Morgan’s goal came off an assist from defender Nikki Marshall. Portland sealed their victory with an Allie Long goal in the 35th, off a Nikki Washington cross.
Chicago, who came off two road matches in the last 9 days, had their best look of the first half in the 21st minute, when Zakiya Bywaters would have a cross from the left side of the field to Julianne Sitch, whose 18-yard, powerful volley was deflected by Portland ‘keeper Karina LeBlanc for a Red Stars corner.
At minute 29, Thorns defender Marshall had a look at the goal from outside the 18-yard box, but Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod was able to push the ball over the crossbar.
It was the 35th minute that saw Portland secure their victory, when forward Washington crossed the ball on the ground to a streaking Long, who was able to strike it past McLeod for a second Portland goal.
At 38 minutes, Washington had a long cross to an open Christine Sinclair on the left side of the field, whose strike hit the crossbar and bounced down to the ground and out of the goal, narrowly saving the Red Stars from a three-goal deficit.
In the second half, it became a physical battle as back-to-back yellow cards were awarded to Thorns defender Rachel Buehler and Chicago substitute Alyssa Mautz at 51 and 54 minutes, respectively, for aggressive play. In the 67th minute, Red Stars co-captain and midfielder Leslie Osborne would have to be substituted for Jessica McDonald, when she suffered an injury.
In the 77th minute, McLeod had to react quickly to deflect a header from Morgan from inside the eighteen. The opportunity came off a Thorns free kick at midfield after a handball was called on Red Stars co-captain Lori Chalupny.
In the end, the Red Stars would not be able to overcome the fatigue of a heavy stretch of games.
“We could have solved a lot of problems with just simple communication during the game,” said McLeod after the game. “We’ve had three games in nine days, so yeah, maybe we could have been mentally and physically sharper, but we’re doing our best out there.”
“We’re a team that wants to win the league and Portland is a team we’ll have to figure out,” said Head Coach Rory Dames.
Chicago’s record currently stands at 0-3-2, with their next game on the road in Rochester, N.Y., on May 24th where they’ll take on the Western New York Flash for the first time this season.
Chicago Red Stars (0-3-2, 2 pts) vs. Portland Thorns FC (4-1-0, 13 pts)
May 12, 2013 – Benedictine University Sports Complex Stadium (Lisle, IL)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 2 0 2
CRS 0 0 0
POR – Alex Morgan (Nikki Marshall) 3’
POR – Allie Long (Nikki Washington) 35’
Shots: Portland 9, Chicago 7 Shots on goal: Portland 6, Chicago 3 Saves: Portland: Karina LeBlanc (3); Chicago: Erin McLeod (4) Corners: Boston 9, Chicago 5 Offside: Portland 0, Chicago 0 Cautions: Portland: 1; Chicago: 1 Fouls: Portland 1, Chicago 5 Ejections: none
RED STARS LINEUP: GK Erin McLeod, Lydia Vandenbergh, Taryn Hemmings, Carmelina Moscato, Rachel Quon, Zakiya Bywaters, Lori Chalupny, Leslie Osborne (Jessica McDonald 72’) , Julianne Sitch (Jackie Santacaterina 46’), Ella Masar (Alyssa Mautz 28’), Lauren Fowlkes
THORNS FC LINEUP: GK Karina LeBlanc, Marian Dougherty, Kat Williamson, Rachel Buehler, Nikki Marshall Allie Long, Becky Edwards, Mana Shim (Courtney Wetzel 83’), Nikki Washington (Danielle Foxhoven 56’), Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan (Jessica Shufelt 92’)
Referee: Kari Seitz
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Jones, Cesar Ibarra
4th Official: Greg Dopka
Weather: 55 degrees, light wind
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
Stay tuned to www.chicagoredstars.com for further details or follow the team on twitter @chicagoredstars and on facebook.com/chicagoredstars.