Red Star Report: Mental Lapses Cause Stars Loss to PTFC 2-0

She was wearing the red of the Rose City today, but Christine Sinclair put the game to bed just the same - Julian Finney

Despite excellent defense for the first hour and change, metal lapses and the quality of Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan drove the Portland Thorns past the Chicago Red Stars

The 2-0 scoreline was relatively predictable. Going into the match, I expected the Red Stars to lose, and badly. That's not cynicism or anything remotely close to that. The fact is that when you're facing Portland Thorns FC and the offensive powerhouse that is the combination of USWNT dynamo Alex Morgan and the greatest Canadian attacker of all time (male or female) Christine Sinclair, you're outclassed. Plain and Simple. It should then be a point of celebration that the Thorns were held scoreless for nearly an hour and ten minutes.

The game started out fast and open. Portland got off the first chance of the night in the 12th minute. Angie Kerr curled in a set piece from the far sideline 35 yards from goal, on to the head of Alex Morgan. Red Stars goalkeeper and Canadian International Erin McLeod came out of nowhere to make a diving save, preventing Morgan from getting on the board. Morgan put one on frame again just before half time, but right into McLeod's hands. "I thought the back line from a defending standpoint- organizational- was very good" said Red Stars Manager Rory Dames. "Carm [Moscato] showed her experience in there. T [Taryn Hemmings] is a very, very, very good center back. A little bit younger and learning but unbelievably athletic. We felt very good about leaving her in foot races with Alex."

Leslie Osborne explained how they were able to stop Sinclair and Morgan in the first half- "we kind of played a box with Boxxie and I on top of our two center backs. Just being very careful with Sinc and Morgan."

The first Red Stars shot on net didn't come until the 50th minute. CRS striker Lori Chalupny dribbled through some traffic, and put one right into the hands of Thorns net-minder Katrina LeBlanc from 16 yards out.

Portland would keep knocking on the door, however. A Marian Dougherty set piece from midfield was headed on by Morgan to the foot of Christine Sinclair, who shot it just wide of the target.

The opening goal came in the 70th minute. A lackadaisical pass from center back Alyssa Mautz was intercepted by Alex Morgan, who led a two on zero break with Danielle Foxhaven. Foxhaven came on for Angie Kerr two minutes into the second half. Morgan's initial shot was stopped by McLeod, but the rebound fell right to Dani Fox, and she put it away tidily.

The second goal was no less than a world class finish by Christine Sinclair. In the 81st minute, after receiving a pass from Morgan wide on the left, she cut in on Mautz, and curled one low past McLeod and into the net. "What happened the last 20 minutes is we went to two in the back, pushed our wide ones higher, put three up front. That left us 2 v 2 with two of the best forwards in the world" Dames said, explaining that they had to chase the game after the first goal.

"We need to do a better job of possessing the ball. Our players need to be more courageous. We have a lot of young players on the field. Where some other teams have allocated internationals, we have 22 and 23 year olds. So it's going to take some time to adjust and speed up."

SIDEBAR:

  • NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey was on hand tonight and answered several questions about the league, including answering questions about the league's survival. " I think what's important is to be able to let the players stand on their own. Whether it's a world cup, an Olympics, or in a professional league... Appreciate the players day in and day out not only in the field, but in their personalities." You can hear the press conference in it's entirety on Far Post Radio. Mondays 2-4 on chicagolandsportsradio.com [cheap plug]

  • Section 8 was in da house. Well, at least 15 were. And you could hear them. From the 10th minute or so, they were doing their thing. Tetris, Just Can't get enough, and Tequila were sung, and the players want more. "I would love it." Leslie Osborne said.

  • Alex Morgan is indeed aware of all the attention she gets. Both on and off the field. "I found myself assisting more then scoring, and opening up space for my teammates... I feel like when I make a run, it makes the back line drop because of my pace and it opens up space for [Sinclair] to play and she's so good with the ball at her feet." And yes she prefers the roses over the piece of timber from Timber Joey. (Sue me, it was a silly follow-up question. Although, come on, varnish it and use it as an end table.)

Box Score and (unoffical) Stats (via chicagoredstars.net)

Scoring Summary
POR - Foxhoven 70'
POR - Sinclair (Morgan) 81'

Misconduct Summary

CHI - Mautz (caution) 69'

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall, M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long (Courtney Wetzel, 89'), M Angie Kerr (Danielle Foxhoven, 46'), F Nikki Washington, F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan (Elizabeth Guess, 90')
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant

CHI: GK Erin McLeod; D Taryn Hemmings, D Carmelina Moscato, D Rachel Quon, D Lydia Vandenbergh, M Zakiya Bywaters (Julianne Sitch, 68'), M Shannon Boxx (Maribel Dominguez, 78'), M Lori Chalupny, M Leslie Osborne, M Alyssa Mautz (Jessica McDonald, 71'), F Ella Masar

Substitutes Not Used: GK Taylor Vancil, D Jacqueline Santacaterina, D Michelle Wenino, M Dinora Garza, F Lauren Fowlkes, F Hanna Gilmore

Referee: Katja Koroleva

Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Jason White
Fourth Official: Donovan Noocha
Attendance: 2,855
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy

STATS

Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns FC

Shots

8

13

Shots on Goal

3

9

Saves

7

3

Fouls

10

9

Corners

0

3

X
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