The Chicago Red Stars defeated NWSL Shield holders Seattle Reign FC in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, taking a 3-2 win in stoppage time on a goal by USWNT forward Christen Press, who also tallied a goal earlier in the match and added an assist on Jen Hoy’s first-half tally.
After an uneventful opening thirty minutes, Seattle got on the board first, when Megan Rapinoe launched in a corner kick from the right that evaded the hands of Chicago goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and was headed in goal by Beverly Yanez. The hosts had an instant response, as Vanessa DiBernardo’s delicate header slipped through to Press past netminder Hope Solo and the California native made it 1-1.
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Moments later, the Red Stars had turned the game around. Taryn Hemmings released Press, who picked out Hoy in the center of the area for a simple tap-in. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Chicago defense cleared a Rapinoe corner back out to the midfielder, whose cross from the right was converted via short-range header by Kendall Fletcher.
Press continued to cause havoc after the break. First she picked out a wide open Hemmings, only to see the subsequent shot easily saved by Solo. Then Chicago captain Lori Chalupny’s through-ball released Press one-on-one with the Seattle goalkeeper, who reacted well to the attempted fake-out and forced her USA teammate wide.
The hosts were nearly punished for the missed opportunities when Karina LeBlanc tipped Kim Little’s 63rd-minute drive around the post for a spectacular save. Ten minutes later, it would be Seattle’s Solo with a strong response to deflect DiBernardo’s dangerous effort wide of the frame.
Just when the fans at Lisle’s Benedictine University thought a win might not come on this night, Press pulled off one more piece of magic to send the home crowd into a frenzy. The 26-year-old stunned the Reign FC defense by sprinting on to a bouncing ball and calmly slotting past Solo for the 91st-minute game-winner.
The Chicago Red Stars hope to make it consecutive wins to start the season when they host superstar Alex Morgan and Portland Thorns FC on April 25.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Seattle Reign 3-2
Venue: Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, Lisle, IL.
Kickoff Time: 7.00 p.m. CT
Red Stars starting lineup:
LeBlanc, Quon, Erceg, Hemmings, Johnston, Colaprico, Chalupny (C), DiBernardo, Huerta, Hoy, Press
Seattle Reign starting lineup:
Solo, Reed, Fletcher, Barnes, Cox (C), Brooks, Fishlock, Little, Rapinoe, Yanez, Mathias
Goals: Yanez SRFC 31’ (Rapinoe), Press CRS 32’ (DiBernardo), Hoy CRS 35’ (Press), Fletcher SRFC 39’ (Rapinoe), Press CRS 91’ (Hoy)
Red Stars Substitutions:
Boxx for Huerta (46’)
Gilliland for Quon (67’)
Seattle Reign Substitutions:
Nogueira for Mathias (71’)
Foxhoven for Yanez (83’)