DiBernardo and Hoy find the net to grab all three points for Chicago
By Gunnar Berndt
Houston, TX. – The Chicago Red Stars earned yet another away win on Sunday night and reclaimed the top spot in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) standings, defeating hosts Houston Dash 2-1 behind goals by Vanessa DiBernardo before the break and Jen Hoy after the break. Houston’s Tiffany McCarty temporarily leveled the score early in the second period.
While the Red Stars had several half-chances in the opening stages of the match, the Dash nearly took the lead at the other end, as Ohai’s low centering ball from the right found a wide open McCarty and the attacker’s mishit shot made for a comfortable save by goalkeeper Michele Dalton. Houston had another close look just after the quarter-hour mark, Rachael Axon creating havoc with a cross from the left and Jessica McDonald failing to make contact with the ball at the doorstep.
Chicago would grab the lead in the 19th minute. Alyssa Mautz’s excellent service from the right picked out Vanessa DiBernardo in the center of the area and the midfielder found the net with a clinical finish. The visitors could have doubled their advantage seven minutes later, Arin Gilliland’s outstanding work on the left begging for the centering pass to be tapped home from close range, only for the well-positioned Mautz to go down under a Camila challenge that was judged to have been fair by referee Chris Spivey.
The Dash nearly punished their opponents for the missed opportunity late in the half, as Melissa Henderson came close to reaching Ella Masar’s low cross from the right before a deflection on the subsequent redirect by McDonald’s made for a comfortable save by goalkeeper Michele Dalton. Well inside first-half stoppage time, Sofia Huerta had a chance to add a second for the Red Stars on a one-on-one with McLeod, but she failed to take advantage of Jen Hoy’s through ball by firing wide of the frame.
After the interval, Chicago picked up right where it had left off, the ball falling right into the pass of Mautz, whose effort from 23 yards out sent it skimming off the bar. However, it would be the Dash finding the net three minutes from the hour mark, as Dalton was unable to get her fists on an Ohai cross from the right and McCarty nodded into the empty goal from the far post.
Chicago outside back Gilliland continued to be a nuisance to the Houston defense, again pushing up the left in the 60th minute and making her way to the byline before picking out Huerta at the near post. The rookie forward did well to turn and release a powerful right-footed shot that whizzed just past the upright.
Strike partner Hoy would aim perfectly moments later, as she received the ball at the top of the box courtesy of a Rachel Quon header and opted for a wicked half-volley that left McLeod without a chance on its way inside the right post. Down 2-1, the Dash attempted to create quality chances during the remainder of the game, but instead it was the road team that came close to scoring again when Gilliland’s long-range rocket twelve minutes from full time whistled inches wide of the left upright.
It would be the day’s final noteworthy action, as the Red Stars put on a clinic in managing a late lead and held on for all three points.
The NWSL leaders will honor all eight of their World Cup participants, including their U.S. quartet, ahead of the official “Welcome Home Game” against Boston Breakers on July 18, which will also serve as the club’s 2015 Pride Night. Single-game and season tickets for the 2015 Red Stars campaign may be purchased by calling 773-698-6001 or by visiting www.chicagoredstars.com.
Chicago Red Stars at Houston Dash 1-2
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium, TX
Scheduled kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Red Stars starting lineup:
Dalton, Gilliland, Erceg, Hemmings, Johnson, Colaprico, Quon, DiBernardo, Mautz, Huerta, Hoy
Houston Dash starting lineup:
McLeod, Masar, Brush, Pressley, Camila, Henderson, Cross, Axon, McCarty, Ohai, McDonald
Goals: DiBernardo CRS 19’ (Mautz) – McCarty HOU 57’ (Ohai) – Hoy CRS (Quon) 61’
Colaprico CRS 3’ (caution – reckless foul)
Brush HOU 84’ (caution – reckless foul)
Red Stars substitutions:
Tancredi in for Mautz 72’
Lomnicki in for Hoy 83’
Walls in for Quon 93+
Houston Dash substitutions:
Bailey in for Axon 46’
LaPonte in for Masar 66’
Jackson in for Camila 77’