Lisle, IL – The Red Stars provided an entertaining final home match for their fans by coming back from deficit twice to earn a 3-3 tie against playoff-bound Sky Blue FC. Defender Jackie Santacaterina headed home the two tying goals, including the 90th minute equalizer. Maribel Dominguez opened the game by scoring in the 7th minute. Sky Blue’s goals were scored by Monica Ocampo (two goals) and Sophie Schmidt.
The Red Stars wasted no time testing Sky Blue’s defensive line early in the match. Around 30 seconds into the first half the Red Stars created their first opportunity on goal and the momentum continued from there. Maribel Dominguez’s first attempt to put the Red Stars on the scoreboard was in the 3rd minute when she approached Sky Blue GK Jillian Loyden one-on-one and took a shot on an open net, but it went wide. Her second attempt followed only a few minutes after, when Dominguez sent a cross from the right sideline into the middle of the Sky Blue’s penalty box in hopes of connecting with teammate Ella Masar. The ball never reached Masar because Loyden punched the ball out of the box. The attempted clear went straight to Dominguez’s feet outside of the 18-yard box and she fired a curved shot in the upper left 90 corner of the goal, putting the Red Stars on the board first.
Sky Blue didn’t waste much time retaliating. In the 14th minute Monica Ocampo received a bouncing cross from the sideline, settled the pass and sent the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod made some outstanding saves during the match including two saves in the 33rd minute. After deflecting the initial shot on goal another shot was taken immediately after, which McLeod also saved. But Sky Blue ended the tie when scoring their second goal in the 35th minute. On another crossed ball, Sophie Schmidt placed a shot perfectly over McLeod’s reach into the top edge of the goal.
The second half started off slower, with only a few offensive opportunities from each side. However, fans were treated to an exciting display towards the end of the game. In the 77th minute Santacaterina headed a crossed ball from the sideline toward the bottom right corner of the goal. The shot went off of a Sky Blue defender into the back of the net, putting the score level at 2-2. About 10 minutes later, Sky Blue’s Monica Ocampo settled a bouncing pass and placed the ball over McLeod’s reach, putting Sky Blue in the lead 3-2. But the never-say-die Red Stars didn’t back down. Santacaterina connected with another cross and floated the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to tie it up once and for all. McLeod kept the game at a 3-3 tie when she came off her line and slide tackled a Sky Blue player who was approaching her one on one.
“It’s our third game in seven days again,” said Head Coach Rory Dames. “The players are just physically and mentally at the end. Credit to the players for their never-say-die attitude they’ve had all year.”
There were no yellow cards given during the match.
The Red Stars will finish their season at Kansas City Sunday, August 18th, taking on F.C. Kansas City. KC currently leads the NWSL with one game left before playoffs begin. Kickoff is at 3:10 pm CT.