CHICAGO – The Dayton Dutch Lions were no match for the Red Stars Reserves during the Central Division semi-final on Saturday, July 23 at Evergreen Bank Group Athletic Field. After taking the Lions, 4-0, with goals from Alexa Ben, Sydney McGinnis and Abigail Reed, the Red Stars moved on to the finals against FC Dallas.
Chicago shined brightly against Dallas in the Central Division Championships on Sunday, July 24 at Evergreen Bank Athletic Field.
Jannelle Flaws led Chicago’s scoring with a hat-trick in the second half to defeat Dallas, 4-3. The Heartland Champions move on to the National Championship tournament, which will take place in Columbus, Ohio July 30 and 31.
It was a tight 90 minutes between Chicago and Dallas. The Red Stars were first to make the board in first-half stoppage time. Flaws sent a pass to the middle of the box where Kaelyn Korte deflected it past goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire.
Just a few minutes into the second half, Flaws found the back of the net with a solo goal. In the 49th minute, she shot a rocket into the top right corner of the goal, putting Chicago up, 2-0. Flaws did not hesitate a second time when she found a free box, putting the ball across the line for her second goal of the match.
Feeling the pressure, FC Dallas charged past the backline to score twice within one minute. Bianca Brinson sent an arching pass to Chestly Strother who found the left corner. The reset led to Dallas controlling the attacking half. A cross from FC Dallas put the ball flying in front of the Red Stars goal. Nicole Hopkins attempted to defend the zone, but the ball bounced off of her into the net, leaving Dallas trailing by one.
Dallas continued to charge Chicago’s net as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes of the game. Brinson led FC Dallas’ final attack in the 79th minute with a pass to Tessa Florio Galvinksy, who centered a shot past Red Stars’ keeper Jennifer Pelley, tying the game at three.
The Red Stars were not done, however. A minute later, Taylor Schneider centered a wild pass to Flaws who tamed it, scoring the hat-trick and giving the Red Stars the 4-3 win.
Chicago kept FC Dallas to only six shots on goal while forcing seven saves and 11 fouls. The Red Stars kept Dallas busy, taking 15 shots with 11 shots on goal.
With the victory, Chicago moves on to the National semi-finals against the Boston Breakers Reserves in Columbus, Ohio on July 30th.