Visiting Breakers with strong performance against NWSL-leading Red Stars
By Gunnar Berndt
Lisle, Ill. – The NWSL-leading Chicago Red Stars drew 1-1 with visiting Boston Breakers in the club’s official “Welcome Home, World Cup Stars” match on Saturday night. U.S. defender-midfielder and Red Stars captain Lori Chalupny scored the go-ahead goal in her first NWSL match since winning soccer’s most prestigious trophy, followed by an equalizer from Breakers forward Stephanie McCaffrey, both tallies coming after the break.
Chicago honored all eight of their World Cup stars in front of a capacity crowd and saw four of them take the field for the first time since rejoining the team, Chalupny and Canada veteran Karina LeBlanc both registering starts while American legend Shannon Boxx and Canucks forward Adriana Leon entered in the second half. New Zealand captain Abby Erceg put in another strong performance anchoring the backline for the Red Stars.
In a relatively uneventful opening half, Chicago forward Jen Hoy had the first dangerous look in the 9th minute of play, her low drive from the left side of the box whistling wide of the right post. Strike partner Sofia Huerta came even closer to finding the net twelve minutes later, as she aimed for the same post from a similar position, cutting to her right and producing a powerful drive that whizzed just over the frame guarded by World Cup winner Alyssa Naeher.
The visiting Breakers had a chance to score in the 42nd minute. LeBlanc came far off her line to punch out a long ball into the attack, which subsequently fell to the feet of Katie Schoepfer, whose long-distance effort forced the Red Stars netminder to leave her feet for a quality parry to her right.
The home side got on the board nine minutes after the break, defender Taryn Hemmings earning the assist against her former team by getting past an opposition player on the right and taking the ball to the byline before centering to Chalupny for a simple finish into the open net.
The lead would be short-lived, as McCaffrey equalized just after the hour-mark. The striker, who was drafted by Chicago in the 2015 NWSL College Draft and subsequently traded to Boston, latched on to a through ball from the left sideline and calmly slotted past the onrushing LeBlanc and inside the right post to make it 1-1. McCaffrey nearly had another in the 65th minute, as she cut to her right inside the area and sent a curling effort toward the right post that was tipped wide by a diving LeBlanc.
The Red Stars were unable to find a winner during the remainder of the match, as their opponents from Massachusetts displayed impressive tactical discipline to prevent any dangerous opportunities.
The Chicago Red Stars look to return to their winning ways when they travel to take on Boston once again this coming Wednesday, July 22. The club’s next home match is a blockbuster clash with defending NWSL champions FC Kansas City that could feature a combined total of eight World Cup winners. Single-game and season tickets for the 2015 Red Stars campaign may be purchased by calling 773-698-6001 or by visiting www.chicagoredstars.com.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Boston Breakers 1-1
Venue: Benedictine University, Lisle, IL
Scheduled kickoff time: 7 p.m. CT
Red Stars starting lineup:
LeBlanc, Hemmings, Erceg, Johnson, Gilliland, Chalupny, DiBernardo, Colaprico, Mautz, Huerta, Hoy
Boston Breakers starting lineup:
Naeher, Kallman, King, Evans, Barczuk, Pathman, Bia, Mewis, Simon, McCaffrey, Schoepfer
Goals: Chalupny CRS 54’ (Hemmings) – McCaffrey BOS 62’
Schoepfer BOS 63’ (caution – reckless foul)
Leon CRS 75’ (caution – reckless foul)
Red Stars substitutions:
Quon in for Chalupny 61’
Leon in for Mautz 67’
Boxx in for Hoy 84’
Boston Breakers substitutions:
Rafaela in for McCaffrey 72’
Lazo in for Bia 80’
Marlborough in for Barczuk 86’