If you paid attention in US History class in high school— or if, like me, you’re Hamilton Trash— then you know about the fateful duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. They met in Weehawken, New Jersey, in the early morning hours of July 11th, 1804, to settle their differences with pistols. Some accounts of the story hold that Hamilton fired his shot in the air, a way for (supposedly) some combatants to fulfill the terms of the duel and keep their honor intact without actually killing anybody. This is done, in part, to cast Aaron Burr as the villain of the story, showing Hamilton deloping and Burr going straight for the pelvis. Whatever the particulars of the confrontation, the result was inarguable— Burr walked away from the duel and Hamilton didn’t.
After watching Sky Blue’s capitulation to the Red Stars last night, you have to wonder if the home side pursued a similar strategy. And were similarly left the worse for wear.
The Red Stars strolled into Yurcak Field in Piscataway Township— less than an hour’s drive from the site of the aforementioned duel— and delivered their strongest performance of the season with a commanding 3-1 win.
In their first game back after the Olympic break, Chicago dominated possession in the first half but only manage to scrounge one goal— a shross from Steph McCaffrey on the right-hand side that sailed over Caroline Stanley’s head, pinged the inside of the far post, and ricocheted in over the goalline. The hosts nearly found an equalizer later in the half with an incredible goalmouth scramble that ended with a goal ruled out for offsides. There’s no good way to describe it, so see for yourself:
Chaos. pic.twitter.com/eCuOK5zfr2— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) August 27, 2016
The second half was more fruitful for the visitors. In the 73rd minute, returning USWNT star Christen Press was played through into the box by Vanessa DiBernardo and slotted it past Stanley to double the lead. Not seven minutes later, Sofia Huerta camped out at the far post for a corner kick and had the ball land at her feet after a headed flick on and tapped it in without resistance to put the game out of reach.
The only real disappointment in an otherwise masterful performance was failing to get a cleansheet, thanks to a consolation goal very late in stoppage time from Sam Kerr. It proved to be the last kick of the game and the Red Stars left New Jersey with three points and few complaints.
The win puts them in third place in the NWSL table with four games to go. While it’s probably too late to catch the Washington Spirit for first place, the Red Stars are still strong favorites for playoff qualification. The victory over Sky Blue offers a much-needed confidence boost heading into their toughest test of the season— three games in seven days, two of them against the (admittedly struggling) defending champions. The Red Stars have only a few days to rest before they head into the stretch that will make or break their entire season. No pressure or anything.