The Chicago Red Stars played their third game in seven days when they hosted Sky Blue FC. Sofia Huerta and Chicago struck early, Savannah McCaskill scored her first professional goal to give Sky Blue a point on the road. Chicago collects their seventh point in just seven days. Sky Blue on the other hand just stole their first point of the season and first goal of the season.
Chicago's early dominance
Sofia Huerta struck in the first minute on a cross turned shot when it found its way to the back net. A throw-in down the line found the feet of Huerta and just like that the Red Stars were up 1-0. Sky Blue presses early and has two corners and shot on goal in the first ten minutes. In the 13th minute, Shea Groom gets a great ball from Savannah McCaskill and finds Janine Beckie on the left side of the box. Beckie slots it past Alyssa Naeher, but she is called offside. Sky Blue and Chicago had plenty of chances in the first half which was mainly a transition game. Yuki Nagasato almost doubled the score in the 31st minute but her header hit the post. Chicago had many missed opportunities to tack on goals before halftime, but heroics from Kalien Sheridan kept the score at 1-0.
Drought over for Sky Blue
Chicago came out in the second half trying to put this game away. Michele Vasconcelos beat the Sky Blue defense and had another great a chance on the night, but it is stopped by Sheridan. The rebound falls to Nagasato at the top on the box, but she sends in wide in the 48th minute After Chicago dominated most of second half with plenty of chances, Sky Blue finally scores their first goal this season. Savannah McCaskill gets her first professional goal on a right footed shot to the far post at the top of the box. Katie Johnson had the assist to tie the game in the 78th minute. For the remainder of the match, both teams sat in, but picked chances to go into attacking mode. Neither team was able to make anything in the final 12 minutes of the game plus 2 minutes of stoppage time. Sky Blue should be delighted to have ended their pointless and scoreless start to the season. Chicago will be a bit disappointed after controlling the majority of the match, but they should be proud to have held on like they did for their third match this week.
Chicago has been playing exceptionally well, despite being without many of last year’s starters due to injury. We are now through the first four weeks of the 2018 NWSL season and Chicago has played 5 games without Julie Ertz, Vanessa DiBernardo, and Casey Short. Those three were integral parts of last year’s squad that made it to the NWSL semifinals for the third year in a row. DiBernardo and Short are both on the 45-day disabled list, but Ertz could be back as early as next week as reported by John D. Halloran on Twitter, “Rory Dame indicates that Julie Ertz may be available off the bench next weekend”.
Sam Kerr has yet to see regular season action, but not due to injury. Kerr and her Australian teammates competed in the 2018 Women’s Asian Cup. The Matildas qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and were the runners-up of the tournament. Kerr was at Toyota Park tonight and will likely see minutes soon.
Chicago plays its next game on April 28th in Maryland against the Washington Spirit. Sky Blue has another off week and resume play on May 5th in New Jersey against the Houston Dash.