A crucial NWSL midweek matchup between the Chicago Red Stars and the Seattle Reign took place at Toyota Park. With the playoff race tightening each week, it was a game that both teams needed to win in order to stay in contention and not lose ground. For Chicago, a win would put pressure on first place North Carolina Courage and second place Portland Thorns. For Seattle, a win would put them back in fourth place over the Orlando Pride.
Both teams came into Wednesday's game with a loss the previous week. Seattle lost 2-1 to the North Carolina Courage, in a game that snapped a 15-game unbeaten streak at home for Seattle. Chicago lost to the Portland Thorns in a 3-2 thriller, which also marked the end of their 8-game unbeaten streak at home.
In the last meeting between the two clubs in June, Seattle, at home, rallied with two penalty kicks to beat the Red Stars 2-1. Chicago won the first meeting in early June, winning 1-0 on a Christen Press goal. The Red Stars were not ready to allow Seattle to get the best of them in front of their hometown fans, but the Reign eventually did. In the third and final meeting this season between the two clubs, the Reign, in the closing minutes, stunned a Red Stars team that dominated the majority of the game.
Red Stars with the First Goal
Twenty-three minutes is what it took for the Red Stars to net their first goal to lead 1-0. Taylor Comeau had time and space to send a ball into the box where Jen Hoy met with a header for the goal.
Chicago would keep their lead for the rest of the half. Even with a change at keeper that had Michele Dalton start over Alyssa Naeher, who was held from starting due to a groin strain, the Red Stars kept Seattle from scoring. Dalton had not played in an NWSL regular season game in nearly a year.
The second half saw Chicago create opportunities to extend their lead, but Haley Kopmeyer saved every opportunity. In total, Kopmeyer recorded seven saves against the Red Stars. In the 67th minute, as Chicago pressed on their attack, Kopmeyer came off her line and stopped a shot by Vanessa DiBenardo.
Two minutes later, in the 67th minute, as Press went solo against Kopmeyer, the Seattle keeper denied the U.S. international the chance for a good shot on frame. In the 70th minute, Kopmeyer again stopped a Chicago attack off the corner kick after a Morgan Proffitt header.
The 90th minute approached, and it looked as if Chicago's only goal in the 23rd minute would be enough to secure a Red Stars victory.
In less than three minutes, Seattle put together a comeback that left a Red Stars team wishing they could replay those final moments. In the 90th minute, Rumi Utsugi found Nahomi Kawasumi on the left side, slipping a through ball. Kawasumi made a cut to the right, which caused Chicago's Comeau to lose her footing, leaving the Japanese international to take the shot for the equalizer.
With stoppage time, in the second minute of added time, on the counter attack, Merritt Matthias, who came in as a substitute in the 67th minute, sent the ball over the Chicago back line to Katie Johnson, who was able to settle the ball to send it into the net past Dalton.
Seattle, with the comeback victory, took over the fourth place spot with 27 points for the season and Chicago remained at third with 29 points.