When the Red Stars went on an extended unbeaten streak during and after the Women’s World Cup- when they lost nearly half their roster- fans and observers seemed pleasantly surprised by how well Chicago had weathered the storm. It’s starting to look like the other shoe had just waited a little longer to drop.
After losing just one game all season heading into August, the Red Stars have now lost two of their last three. The latest disappointing result came in the form of a 2-1 home loss against Washington on Sunday night.
While most of us were watching the Fire play out that crazy 3-3 draw in Philly, the Red Stars had bravely fought their way back into a game which saw them go down in the scoreline early. Mel Tancredi had equalized in the dying minutes of regulation time and seemed to ensure at least a point for the home side, but deep into stoppage time Crystal Dunn struck against the run of play to give Washington the lead with no time for Chicago to recover. The Spirit held on for that last minute and went back home happy and flush with three points.
The Red Stars, meanwhile, find themselves in serious trouble at the tail end of the regular season. Having gone on a rampaging unbeaten streak to seemingly bolt themselves to the top of the NWSL table, Chicago is now winless in five games, having earned three points from a possible 15. They’ve now slipped to 3rd place, six points clear of the playoff threshold with three games to go. If they don’t stop the bleeding now, they could find themselves in a very weak position heading into the playoffs. Or worse— missing out on the playoffs altogether.