They've been on the road for four weeks. But it's been the luckiest month in the seven-year history of the Chicago Red Stars.
On Wednesday, in Piscataway, New Jersey, against the likes of the USWNT's Christie Rampone, the Chicago Red Stars were able to take control towards the second part of the first half. They shut down Sky Blue FC in a complete shutout, 2-0.
Sky Blue FC (2-4-4, 10pts) was coming off a big 1-0 road victory in Portland.
Two first half Red Stars goals were scored by midfielder Adriana Leon in the 27th minute and fellow mid and team captain Lori Chalupny, with an assist from Leon, in the 35th minute.
Credit forward Jen Hoy, who's kept the winning streak alive for the Red Stars. She's scored in each of the Red Stars last 4 victories, and nearly found her 5th in a row late in the second half.
“It’s not easy to get points on the road in this league,” said Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames in a press statement. “The players have done well and we’ll continue to train hard, clean up some details, and work on getting better.”
Sky Blue came out with more attacking prowess to start the second half, including a couple long right-sided blasts from USWNT player Kelley O’Hara.
Most importantly, the offense has been outstanding in the past six games. During this win streak, the Red Stars have outscored opponents 13-4. But team captain Chalupny is still not satisfied:
“We have yet to put together a complete 90-minute performance,” said Chalupny in a press release. “But there were moments of really good soccer today including our backs getting another shutout.”
Red Stars goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, who tweeted a picture of herself with nearby Rutgers students attending the game, held on for her 3rd shutout of the year.
Chalupny praised LeBlanc, as well as others, for the win streak. “Our backline has really played together and KK (LeBlanc) has done really well for us," she said in Wednesday's press conference. " And I thought our movement up-top in the first 45 (minutes) was the best it has been all season.”
The Red Stars have now won five in a row, and are undefeated in six games. The win improved them to 6-2-1, with 19 pts on the season. That's good enough for second place, just four points behind the undefeated Seattle Reign FC, at 7-0-2.
They're finally back at their homesite...Benedictine University Sports Complex in Lisle, for a match-up next Wednesday, June 4 against Washington Spirit. This is the second meeting between the two teams in Chicago this season. Washington took the first round with a 1-0 victory on April 26.
ESPN signs agreement with NWSL
From the NWSL website:
"The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and ESPN announced today a one-year agreement to broadcast nine NWSL games this year. As part of the agreement, ESPN2 will air three regular-season matches and all three NWSL playoff matches, which includes the two semifinal games on August 23 and 24, and the championship game on August 31.
“We are very excited to announce our new agreement with ESPN,” NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey said on their website. “In the midst of our second season, we are striving to provide our fans with improved access to our league matches and airing our games on ESPN2 and ESPN3 will give us a broader platform to expose fans to the amazing caliber of women’s soccer in the NWSL. We also hope to create new fans who will appreciate the amazing athletes and personalities in our league.”
In addition, ESPN3 will also live stream three regular season NWSL games. Access to lLive programming on the ESPN3 channel of multiscreen sports network is accessible online at WatchESPN.com on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Xbox, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
With June being Pride Month, the Red Stars will commemorate the LGBT community with Pride Night. More information is available on their website, http://www.chicagoredstars.com
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