With playoff qualification sewn up, the Red Stars went into their away fixture against the Flash with a different set of goals. Thanks to goals from Christen Press and Jen Hoy, they got the job done as they beat Western New York 2-0.
Following their scoreless draw last weekend to secure qualification, Chicago had two main objectives: keep their hopes of home field advantage for the playoff semifinals alive, and rebuild momentum heading into the postseason. The latter took on added importance following a late season skid that left the Red Stars mired in a six game winless streak, surrendering the top spot in the table to Seattle and briefly threatening their qualification hopes.
Press helped settle the team’s nerves in the 40th minute thanks to a gorgeous curling effort from the edge of the box. Taking that goal and that lead into the tunnel served as an undeniable confidence boost from a team that has been short on invention and bite in recent weeks. Press later had a say in Chicago’s second goal in the 65th minute, slipping a pass through to Jen Hoy for a calm finish. The Red Stars held their lead for the remainder of the game- something which they’ve also struggled to do of late- and secured their first win since July 22nd.
As for the playoff semifinal, the win lifts them into 2nd place, three points ahead of FC Kansas City. A win in their last game of the regular season- at home against Houston, to be played at Toyota Park- will give them home field advantage for their playoff game, regardless of what KC do. Chicago controls their own destiny— and that alone is worth celebrating.