Lisle, IL – One own-goal would make the difference on a hot, early evening in Lisle in this second match-up of the year between the visiting Washington Spirit and the Chicago Red Stars. Red Stars forward Inka Grings played the ball in that deflected off the Spirit’s Tiff McCarty to provide the game’s only goal in the 55th minute. With the win, the Red Stars have surpassed the Boston Breakers into 5th place in the NWSL standings, although Boston holds a game in hand.
“This is the first game where we have had so many chances,” said Grings. “Bad we only got one goal, but important for us to take chances and come out with a victory.”
The early goings would be a back and forth affair, although the Red Stars had more looks at goal. The Spirit’s German international Conny Pohlers had a crack at goal from inside the box in the 24th minute, which would be their best look of the half, but Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod was there to deny her.
In the 30th minute, Julianne Sitch had a steal at midfield and broke away up the pitch to find a streaking Red Stars captain Lori Chalupny on the left side of the field. Chalupny took a touch and got off a clean left-footed shot, but it went right to Harris.
Towards the end of the first half, in the 43rd minute, Maribel Dominguez got into a battle on the left side of the field that found Spirit GK Harris out off her line. Dominguez tried to break free but at best found defender Rachel Quon who put a cross towards goal that was eventually thwarted.
In the final minute of the first half, the Red Stars put Harris to work again by getting a couple blasts on goal that were nearly deflected out, but Harris was able to get a hand on them from the ground and keep the game scoreless going into the half.
The weather shifted during halftime and it looked like storms would imminently roll in. It was the Red Stars that would get on the board first in the 2nd half when defender Michelle Wenino put in a long cross from the right side of the field that found Inka Grings, who handled the bounce and put it across goal. The ball would deflect off the Spirit’s Tiffany McCarty who would be credited with an own-goal, giving the Red Stars a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute.
Washington’s best chance at tying the match came in the 88th minute when their captain Lori Lindsey fired in a cross from the left side of the field but no Spirit player was able to connect.
“It’s nice to get to .500,” said Head Coach Rory Dames after the match. “Jackie (Santacaterina) did really well stepping in for T (Taryn Hemmings).”
The Red Stars now take to the west coast for a 2-game roadtrip where they’ll meet Seattle Reign FC and Portland Thorns, on July 25 and July 28, respectively. The July 28 match at Portland Thorns 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 on June 1. The game will also be featured on Fox Soccer as the NWSL Game of the Week.