Tukwila, Wa. – Seattle Reign struck early and kept the Red Stars chasing the evening in a 4-1 loss for Chicago on the road Thursday night. The Red Stars face a challenging uphill battle as they continue to keep hopes of a playoff run alive late in the season.
Seattle Reign took advantage of a foul in the 6th minute when Red Stars midfielder Adriana Leon clipped Jessica Fishlock from behind, setting up USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe with a freekick from 20 yards out. She drove a low, hard ball past the CRS defenders to the left side of Red Stars GK Erin McLeod to put the Reign on top 1-0 early.
Red Stars captain and midfielder Lori Chalupny led a break up field in the 16th minute of play that resulted in a blast of a shot from here at the top of the 18, but it sailed just over the crossbar. The Reign would turn right around and end up back in Chicago’s defensive end, and Rapinoe continued to remain dangerous by taking a rapid fire outside shot that forced McLeod to leap and send it over the crossbar.
The Red Stars early game woes would continue when, in the 21st minute, an obvious Reign goal was thwarted by Leon, who threw her body in the way to block the ball. The ensuing handball resulted in a yellow card for Leon and a penalty kick for the Reign. that was taken by Kaylyn Kyle to put the home team up 2-0.
Chalupny nearly got the visitors on the board in the 30th minute when she shook a defender and took a direct shot from inside the 18-yard box, but Hope Solo would come up big by blocking the shot out, and the game would remain 0-2 heading into the half.
The Red Stars came out with high pressure to start the second 45, looking to get on the board early and cut the deficit in half. Two changes would be made in the 57th minute when rookie Jen Hoy entered the match for veteran Maribel Dominguez, and Ella Masar entered for Julianne Sitch.
In spite of a good start to the 2nd half, Megan Rapinoe would strike again when she got loose in front of goal. In the 68th minute. McLeod, forced to come off her line, was not able to come up with the save, and Rapinoe sent the ball high into an open net, putting Seattle up 3-0.
The Red Stars earned a penalty kick in the 73rd minute when Seattle handled the ball in their box and had an opportunity to finally get on the board. But Hope Solo would come up big again by blocking Inka Grings PK attempt. In spite of the miss, the Red Stars would bounce back a minute later and get on the board when Chalupny found Hoy with a counter attack in the 74’.
But as the Red Stars pushed numbers forward trying to make up ground, Seattle’s Liz Bogus would break away and earn a 1-on-1 with McLeod. She slotted the ball to the corner and sealed the Seattle 4-1 win in the 82nd minute.
The Red Stars will round out this West coast trip by heading to Portland to meet Thorns FC on Sunday, July 28 in a 6 p.m. CT match-up that will be featured live on Fox Soccer channel in the National Women’s Soccer League game of the week. The Portland match will be an exciting return visit for the Red Stars, after they defeated the Thorns 2-0 at Jeld-Wen Field in the teams’ first meeting there on June 1.