Boyds, MD – The Red Stars wouldn’t get one last chance to make a comeback, a trait the team has been known for this season. Weather delays would force the match to be truncated and officially cut-off due to a Maryland Soccerplex venue curfew, ending the game in the 80th minute 0-1 in favor of the Spirit. Lupita Worbis had the Spirit goal, assisted by Diana Matheson, in the 58th minute.
The first half was back and forth with opportunities coming for each side, but no real rhythm surfacing for either team. Some of the best opportunities of the half came when Red Stars right back Michelle Wenino was placing crosses to the far-post and finding German forward Inka Grings. But Spirit’s goalkeeper Chantal Jones was there each time to gather the efforts.
Washington’s best opportunities of the first half would come directly up the middle of the field with Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson leading the charge. Their most dangerous look came when she broke through the defense and got past the onrushing Red Stars ‘keeper Erin McLeod. Defender Sonja Fuss saved the day for the Red Stars by sliding several yards to clear the ball off the line and keeping the Spirit off the board.
The Red Stars, knowing their playoff hopes were on the line, came out firing in the second half. They started with high pressure and got several early shots including a quick turn from Grings that went just wide, a long shot from Masar that did the same, and then the most dangerous was a break through from Leon but her touch went too far towards the ‘keeper.
But as the Red Stars were pushing forward Matheson was dangerous once again and found Lupita Worbis on a through-ball that sent the home side up 1-0 in the 58th minute. The next 10 minutes would tick by without a dangerous play by the Red Stars. They eventually switched formations and pushed numbers forward, but then heavy rains began to fall. The lightning siren went off in the 76th minute and fans were evacuated from the stadium as both teams headed to the locker rooms.
It would be about an hour and 20 minute delay before the teams were allowed to head back to the field. A 20 minute warm-up proceeded the re-kickoff, but the teams would only get 4 more minutes on the pitch before the sirens once again sent them to the locker rooms. The teams waited it out in the locker rooms, before the match was officially called at 11:45 p.m. due to a stadium curfew, after just 80:04 played. Per league rules, a match that is truncated due to weather can be officially tallied if it is called in the second half.
The rule would leave the Red Stars with a devastating loss on that road that officially ended their playoff hopes. As a team that has been known on more than one occasion to come back from deficits, it would be a huge blow to the players.
The Red Stars were missing captain Lori Chalupny, who suffered an ankle injury in the team’s Portland match, and Shannon Boxx, Zakiya Bywaters and Taryn Hemmings who have all been sidelined with knee injuries.
The Red Stars head back to Chicago for their final home match of the season this Saturday, August 10, 6 p.m. CT v Sky Blue FC in an evening that will mark Fan Appreciation Night. All fans will have opportunities to win prizes during the game and there will also be a live, in-game silent jersey auction for a chance to bid on the Red Stars game-worn home jerseys. Tickets are available for Saturday’s match by visiting chicagoredstars.com or calling 773-697-8699.