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Great Kid, Don’t Get Cocky: Chicago Red Stars 2, Orlando Pride 1, NWSL game recap

Chicago returns home from a 4-game road trip and celebrates with a big win over Orlando

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Chicago Red Stars 2 Press 29’, 52’

Orlando Pride 1 Kennedy 90+3’

First things first: the most important thing you need to know about this game was that the pre-kickoff lineup announcements were set to music from Star Wars.

Did this have anything to do with our interview with Rory Dames earlier in the week? Who’s to say.

In somewhat less important news, the Chicago Red Stars came back from a tough road trip and got back on their stride with a 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride.

And they got this win in characteristic Red Stars fashion— strong defending and Christen Press working some magic.

The first half was a typical Red Stars first half; which is to say, barely worth talking about. Lots of pensive prodding, lots of building the defenses for the coming siege. If you’ve watched this time more than twice in the past few years, you know what to expect.

The Red Stars usually don’t get on the board until either right at the end of the first half or in the early in the second half. But the home side were just too eager today. Too anxious. Like a young padawan, still learning the ways of the force, who just wants to lift an X-Wing already.

Thus did CP23 herself fudge the gameplan ever so slightly.

Is there anything more beautiful than Sofia Huerta and Christen Press combining for a goal? I doubt it.

Despite a somewhat makeshift backline this afternoon— featuring Casey Short at centerback, because YOLO?— Chicago’s defense held up pretty well once Orlando decided to stop fucking around after the goal. Even so, there were moments when keeper Alyssa Naeher had to dig deep.

Like this.

And this.

But they held it together long enough to take that 1-0 lead into the tunnel with them at half time.

The second act began ominously— head coach Rory Dames was sent to the stands for using strong language with one of the officials. (We don’t know what further sanctions will come down from the league, if any. Stay tuned this week for updates.)

Whatever cloud hung over the team as a result of their coach being taken off the board was soon dissipated, thanks to more magic from Press.

At this point the feeling was that the game was in the bag. The big question was whether Press would get her hat trick.

She didn’t, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Beyond that, the Red Stars stuck to their usual plan— lock down the back end of the pitch and repel the siege.

And it worked.

Mostly.

Thanks goodness for insurance goals, eh?

Late drama notwithstanding, the Red Stars managed to hang on for the win. The gameplan worked. It’s a good plan. When it works.

The Chicago Red Stars (8W 4D 3L, 28pts, 1st place) are off next weekend for the international break. They’re back in action on August 5th for a rematch with Orlando on the road.