Red Stars Confidential

2010 Regular Season Archives

The Red Stars undergo several squad changes

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Kosovare Asllani leaves the Red Stars to return to Sweden.

In the last week the Chicago Red Stars have undergone several changes, some players have said goodbye to Chicago, while new players are being welcomed with open arms.  A question to think about with all these changes taken place is: are these changes going to help ensure a spot for the Red Stars (currently fourth in the league) a spot in the playoffs?

  • The Red Stars acquired the rights for Faith Ikidi a Nigerian defender.  Ikidi is currently playing for Linkoping FC in Sweden, though the Washington Freedom previously owned the rights to her. I personally don't know http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102186445515much about Ikidi, but I'm excited for the addition of some African flare to the squad.  From what I've read Omid Namazi hopes that Ikidi adds depth to our back line in the future. If she's here before the season ends there's a possibility that we'll see her defensive skills help keep the Stars' opponents from putting the ball in the back of the net.

  • Anita Asante is onto her third team for the 2010 WPS season, fourth in her WPS career. Last year Asante played on Sky Blue FC's championship team, this year she started off the season on St. Louis Athletica's roster, but the Red Stars acquired her when Athletica left her as a free agent after their demise. Asante had the choice to either stay with the Red Stars or move on to the Freedom, who inquired about her during the the Ikidi rights trade. I don't view this as a positive change or a negative one or a change that will affect our run for a spot in the playoffs.  I am confident in the pairing of Kate Markgraf and Whitney Engen at center back for Chicago. Plus, we have the addition of Ikidi to the team.  If Asante is able to get more playing time with the Freedom then by all means she should go play.  As a soccer player, I know I'd want to. 

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Red Stars in the house, yah

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  • Your Chicago Red Stars (2-5-3) play in Boston tonight, facing off against the Breakers (1-4-4).  The last time these two teams met on the pitch, the Red Stars defeated the Breakers with a score of 2-0.  This time around the Breakers will have former Red Star on their side in Lindsay Tarpley, who Boston acquired with the loss of St. Louis Athletica to the league. 

  • The Red Stars were recently sighted at Chicago's Bull and Bear Bar in support of the USMNT's World Cup match on Wednesday (hello, victory!).  Marian Dalmy and Megan Rapinoe were sportin' their US Soccer jerseys, while a handful of players were there supporting England. I'm looking at you, Carney! And the rest of your English posse. 

  • On Saturday the 19th Chicago fell to Atlanta with a score of 1-0.  A sad day for Chicago was a great day for Atlanta, as this was their first win in franchise history. 

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Chicago Red Stars honoring Athletica's unused home game tickets

St. Louis Athletica folds
-- Athletica fold as funds run dry - [STLtoday.com
-- R.I.P. St. Louis Athletica - [All White Kit]
-- St. Louis Athletica's death is Jeff Cooper's shame - [Fake Sigi]


Athletica player transactions
-- Beat agrees to terms with Solo, Ellertson, and Aluko - [Women's Professional Soccer - Atlanta Beat]
-- Boxx Joins Up With Gold Pride - [Soccer365]
-- Daniela headed to USL W-League with the Hampton Roads Piranhas

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Photo from: http://www.womensprosoccer.com/stlouis


Chicago Red Stars play their role with the end of St. Louis Athletica
-- @chicagoredstars Red Stars to honor @AthleticaSoccer unused home match tix 4 all remaining #CRS home games: http://bit.ly/crs-stl-tix #wps

-- To the Fans of St. Louis Athletica - [Women's Professional Soccer - Chicago Red Stars]

Emma Hayes released from coaching duties; Red Stars defeat FC Gold Pride 1-0

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mma Hayes hangs out with the British ladies of the Red Stars - Karen Carney & Katie Chapman

As most of you have already probably heard, Emma Hayes was fired from the head coaching position with the Chicago Red Stars on Monday, May 24th.  What people may not know is that what GM, Marcia McDermott said about Hayes is 100% accurate -

"I want to thank Emma for her hard work and assistance with the launch of the Red Stars franchise," Red Stars General Manager Marcia McDermott said. "This was a difficult decision to make because she poured her heart into the organization. We felt it was time for a change as we move forward and look to put together a successful run this season."

I first met Hayes about a year and a half ago when I accompanied her and Peter Wilt to an FC Indiana vs Red Eleven match in Indianapolis.  Hayes exuded with positive soccer energy the entire car ride. Other than Wilt, I have never met someone so genuinely excited about a soccer endeavor that lay at their fingertips, which I Imagine  is one of the reasons why he thought Hayes would be a great fit for the Red Stars organization.  Personally, I can wholeheartedly say that Hayes' passion for the Red Stars shined through in any interaction I had with her.

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Red Stars, USWNT dominate their opponents

The Red Stars finally got the confidence boost they needed on Friday with a 5-0 win against the USL W-League's Red Eleven in Buffalo Grove. Julianne Sitch, Kosovare Asllani (+1 assist), Casey Nogueria, and Cristiane all scored goals for the Red Stars. Cristiane finished the game off for the Red Stars with two goals, one off of a PK and a goal that was assisted by Sophie Reiser. 
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Cristiane takes on Athletica defenders in an earlier match this year. 

"I've really been working hard on the front three -- pressuring, and putting the [opposing] team on a lot of pressure, and I thought in the first half we did that really well," Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes said. "And then making sure our movement's good up top to create opportunities. When it was 1-nil at halftime, I thought we deserved to be up by a bit more."

Because of national team duty, the Red Stars were without a majority of their regular starting defenders and midfielders, as well as goalkeepers Jillian Loyden and Kelsey Davis. Defenders Marian Dalmy, Ifeoma Dieke and Kate Markgraf, and midfielders Karen Carney, Katie Chapman and Megan Rapinoe, were all unavailable for the Red Stars.

---- [Red Stars Net 5-0 Win Over Red Eleven - Chicago Red Stars]

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Kate Markgraf warming up before a Red Stars game.


In other women's soccer news... 

Saturday the USWNT took on the Germany's powerful squad.  The US won 4-0 with two goals from Abby Wambach, as well as goals from Kristine Lilly and Heather O'Reilly. Red Stars players Kate Markgraf and Megan Rapinoe both saw the field during the second half of the game.  It was Markgraf's first time in the lineup since December 2008, after giving birth to twins last year. 
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Something's got to give

It's been a rough go the last season and a half with the Red Stars underperforming. I like the team, I like the staff and front office, but I hate losing. So I have to ask - what's going on?

The Red Stars are an amazing team. On paper. Not only should they be winning games, but crushing them and making opponents cry - not the fans. In the offseason, the Red Stars added more offensive firepower and yet their goal production has dropped.

Is it the coaching? Is the team makeup wrong? Is there a curse?

Seven games into the season, we have two players who have scored a total of 3 goals. But yet we have 4 players named to the US Women's National Team. The Red Stars outshoot their opponents but never find the back of the net.

The burden of leadership is that you're the first one to fall when times go bad. So, does coach Emma Hayes need to fall on her sword? Quite possibly if things don't start heating up soon. If she still has command of her players and they're not performing, then they need to get better or leave.

Whatever it is, it's got to happen soon. It's entirely possible to think that if the Red Stars don't win on the 29th against FC Gold Pride, then Emma Hayes might make history by being the first coach in WPS to be fired.

Lady of the Match: Your guess is as good as mine

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It's only a matter of time before this frown turns upside down. Red Stars battle the Independence this Saturday at Toyota Park, 6PM - don't miss the action! 

Date:
Saturday, May 8th vs FC Gold Pride in Hayward, CA
Final: Red Stars 0 - 2 FC Gold Pride
Highlights: Video Highlights - Red Stars vs FC Gold Pride

It's unfortunate more WPS games aren't televised or shown on the web, it makes it difficult to report back on games, give input on players, or pick a player of the game - that on top of the fact that the Red Stars lost 2-0 is why we've decided not to nominate someone for Lady of the Match this week. 

I would like to add that it sounds like Jill Loyden had another fantastic game, so she is our honorary Lady of the Match Runner Up. "Jillian had a fantastic game," Hayes said of the Chicago goalkeeper. "She was our player of the match. She had a great game and kept us in it."

The Red Stars next game is this Saturday at Toyota Park against the Philadelphia Independence at 6PM.  This is the first time the Stars and Independence will face off - don't miss this game, call 1-866-WPS-2009 for ticket information!

Video Highlights: Red Stars vs FC Gold Pride

  • The Red Stars lost to FC Gold Pride 2-0 on Saturday
  • Ifeoma Dieke was red carded in the 25th minute
  • Because of the red card, Emma Hayes had to make an early defensive substitution, which allowed Natalie Spilger to see the field for the first time this season
  • Jill Loyden saved her first PK of the year - 7 saves total in the match
  • Tiffeny Milbrett (FCGP) scored just before the half in the 45th minute of the game
  • Kelley O'Hara (FCGP) scored in the 78th minute and was assisted by Kimberly Yorkers
  • The Red Stars are now 1-3-1 and FC Gold Pride is 4-1-0

Video Highlights: Red Stars vs Breakers

Casey Nogueira and Cristiane scored second half goals for the Red Stars to clinch their first win of the 2010 season against the Boston Breakers.

Lady of the Match: Kosovare Asllani

We here at Red Stars Confidential would like to present you with our first ever Lady of the Match (player of the game).  Even though the Red Stars game ended in a devastating 1-0 loss against Sky Blue FC yesterday, we still want to award one player with a huge high five for her extraordinary efforts.

2010 April 25 Asllani Lady of the Match.jpg
Yesterday Kosovare Asllani stole our hearts.  She took a hard knock in the early minutes of the game that gave us a little scare, but after she got back on her feet she didn't disappoint.  We heard she was a confident little diva (we use that term in the most positive way possible), and her work on the field is proving it.  When she gets the ball she heads to goal, she works magic with her feet, and she produces excellent scoring opportunities for her teammates.  Asllani even scored a goal in the 40' of play that ended up being called offsides.  

So here's a huge high five to you, Asllani!

Lady of the Match Runners Up

  • Karen Carney
  • Jillian Loyden

Who was your lady of the match?

Red Stars Home Opener Tomorrow!

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As I've previously stated, I truly believe that the Red Stars have an exceptional, exciting team.  They have a surplus of talent that many WPS fans are not familiar with.  If the Red Stars play like they did last week and continue to develop, it will be a good year for Chicago.  The potential is endless.

Fingers crossed that the Red Stars have 20 shots against Hope Solo and the Athletica, as they did against Sky Blue FC. And fingers crossed that a few of those 20 shots see the back of the net.  

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Friends of the Stars:
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No goals after 20 shots against Sky Blue FC

I was really hoping to watch a victorious Chicago soccer match on Sunday, especially after being on hand to witness the Fire lose their first ever home opener at Toyota Park the night before. Not only was I looking forward to a Red Stars win because I needed my soccer spirits to be lifted after the Fire's disappointing results, but also to prove all the Red Stars haters wrong. Last week I read countless reviews on just how awful everyone seems to think the Red Stars will be this year, and it got old quick.

It turns out that the Fire weren't the only pro soccer team in Chicago to end their weekend in a disappoint, as the Red Stars lost to Sky Blue FC 1-0 with an early goal in the 6th minute from Natasha Kai.

I may be biased, but I'm really excited for the changes that Emma Hayes has made to the roster this season. Sure, we lost USWNT players, Carli Lloyd and Lindsay Tarpley. We lost a standout goalie from Sweden in Caroline Jonsson. We're all unhappy about these loses. (Well, I am mostly sad for the loss of Jonsson, but countless others are heartbroken over USWNT heroes, Lloyd and Tarpley.) But overall, I'm genuinely excited to see what our new Red Stars' players will produce this year - maybe it is the lack of familiarity that has me on the edge of my seat, maybe it's the energy I've seen in Hayes when she talks about new additions to the team such as: Kosovare Asllani, Katie Chapman, Whitney Engen, Jessica McDonald, and countless others, or maybe I'm just genuinely looking forward to a fresh start, a new season.

Oh the anticipation!

Sadly, the first game has come and gone. The Red Stars fought until the final minutes of game that I thought they clearly should have one. In my eyes, they dominated the majority of the game. Of course, not without a challenge, Sky Blue FC is a force to be reckoned with, there is no question in that. But the RS did everything they were supposed to, except... put the ball in the goal, even after collectively taking 20 shots (4 on goal) against Sky Blue.

Game Highlights:

Other thoughts on the game:

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