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Becomes 2nd NWSL coach to reach the milestone with same team

CHICAGO – Red Stars head coach Rory Dames became the fourth National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) coach to earn 50 wins in the league. He joined the likes of Seattle’s Vlatko Andonovski, Utah’s Laura Harvey and Portland’s Mark Parsons, but became the second coach to do it with the same team.

Dames competed in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) in 2011 and the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite (WPSL-Elite) in 2012, earning eight and nine wins, respectively. Then, Dames and the Red Stars entered the inaugural NWSL season the following year.

2013: Just Starting Out
Record: 8-8-6 (30 points) 

After the previous leagues folding, the NWSL began and the Red Stars were off to a rough start. Only earning two points in the first six matches, Chicago wouldn’t earn their first victory until two months into the season, in a 2-0 defeat over Portland Thorns FC. The month of June saw a better showing, while in July, the Red Stars only fell once. But Chicago was unable to keep the momentum to the end, as their 30 points wasn’t enough to the Red Stars in playoff contention finishing in sixth place.

Key Acquired Players:
F-Zakiya Bywaters (draft)
F-Jen Hoy (draft)
F-Ella Masar (signed)
GK-Erin McLeod (allocation)
M-Lori Chalupny (signed)
M-Alyssa Mautz (Supplemental Draft)

2014: Playoff Spot Taken Away
Record: 9-7-8 (35 pts.) 

In the second season, the Red Stars saw a better showing as they went on a six-game undefeated streak. But Chicago turned around and did the opposite, going seven games without a victory. The Red Stars finished the regular season with 35 points, tying the Washington Spirit for the final spot to compete in the post season. Because Washington swept the series between Chicago, the Red Stars finished in fifth place, missing the NWSL Playoffs.

Key Acquired Players:
D-Julie Johnston (draft)
D-Abby Erceg (signed)
D-Sam Johnson (trialist)
F-Christen Press (allocation)
GK-Karina LaBlanc (trade)
M-Vanessa DiBernardo (draft)
M-Emily van Egmond (signed)

2015: First Playoff Berth
Record: 8-3-9 (33 pts.) 

The Red Stars turned their luck around in the third season, only losing three matches in the regular season. Off to a hot streak, Chicago held the top spot for 10 weeks during the season. With multiple draws, the Red Stars dropped in points to Seattle Reign FC, who finished in first, while Chicago stole second place from FC Kansas City by one point. With their first playoff berth, the Red Stars were to face Kansas City, a team they defeated and drew against in the regular season. The semifinal didn’t quite go Chicago’s way as the Red Stars fell 3-0 to the eventual 2015 NWSL Champions.

Key Acquired Players:
M-Danielle Colaprico (draft)
D-Arin Gilliland (draft)
F-Sofia Huerta (draft)

2016: Starting of a Semifinal Streak
Record: 9-5-6 (33 pts.) 

After an opening season loss on the road, Chicago went on an eight-game undefeated streak, only to be hit with three-straight 2-0 losses on the road to the three top teams in the league; Portland, Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit. For most of the season, the Red Stars fell into one of the top four spots, always being a post-season contender. Making their way into the semifinals, Chicago was up against the Spirit, who they defeated 3-1 the week prior. But the result was against the Red Stars, as Washington scored in overtime to take them to NWSL Championship, leaving Chicago with its second semifinal defeat.

Key Acquired Players:
D-Sarah Gorden (draft)
D-Katie Naughton (draft)
GK-Alyssa Naeher (trade)

2017: Third Time’s Not the Charm
Record: 11-7-6 (39 pts.) 

The season started the same, as the Red Stars lost in their opening match against last year’s opponent Houston Dash. In only two weeks during the season, Chicago placed below the top four, maintaining second or third place most of the season. The Red Stars were struck with a defeating three-game loss at home during an eight-day span nearing the end of the season. It wasn’t until the second-to-last match that solidified the Red Stars’ spot in the postseason. In the semifinal, the Red Stars faced North Carolina, who could never find a point against Chicago. But that all changed in the final minute of the semifinal match, where Denise O’Sullivan scored the lone goal to once again spoil the Red Stars’ sights at advancing to the NWSL Finals.

Key Acquired Players:
F-Yuki Nagasato (signed)
F-Michele Vasconcelos (draft)
M-Morgan Brian (trade)

2018: Rory Hits 50
Record: 5-3-7 (22 pts.)  *as of July 1, 2018

For the first time in two years, the Red Stars earned a point against Houston in the season opener to start the season on the right foot. Chicago’s year has been interesting from the get-go, finishing a current league-high seven draws. The Red Stars have solidified a spot in the middle of the pack, switching between fifth and sixth place in the past month. In a turn of events, Chicago fell to the Orlando Pride not once, but twice in May for the first time in Orlando’s existence. But coming off the loss, the Red Stars went on a four-game undefeated streak, finishing with his 50th victory in a 2-0 shutout against the Washington Spirit, earning Dames the milestone.

Key Acquired Players:
F-Sam Kerr (trade)
GK-Emily Boyd (draft)
M-Nikki Stanton (trade)
M-Rosie White (Dispersal Draft)

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