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Failing Upward: Washington Spirit 1, Chicago Red Stars 2, NWSL game recap

The Red Stars break their 3-game losing streak despite an overall weak performance

Photo via Washington Spirit

Washington Spirit 1 Williams 81’

Chicago Red Stars 2 Mewis 23’, Press 87’

Kristie Mewis in the Starting XI and put in the #10 role.

That’s, uh. That’s where the Red Stars are at now.

I get why they did it— Vanessa DiBernardo wasn’t 100% yet, they didn’t want to put Ertz in the #10 spot, and Press dropping deep would’ve created more problems than it solved. Someone had to do the job; might as well have been the new girl.

Still, though.

I don’t know, friends. I just don’t know about this team anymore.

There’s a cliche in soccer (and other sports too, probably) that good teams find ways to win even when they’re not playing well. I’ve said this on more than one occasion. And I suppose it’s still true. But after tonight, I don’t know if I can say that with a straight face.

Because the Chicago Red Stars were absolutely awful tonight. They should’ve lost. They should’ve at least drew. But thanks to the quality of the opposition, Chicago managed to steal a 2-1 win, breaking their 3-game losing streak and staying in the playoff race.

For now. For all that it’ll matter.

I’m running out of ways to talk about how this team performs. If you’ve seen one first half you’ve seen just about them all, absent that one where they went 2-0 down in the first ten minutes. Some good pressure early, some shots at and around goal, but no real killer instinct. Given that the Spirit are the worst team in the league, Chicago shouldn’t have struggled as much to take control of the game. And yet.

Their one good moment came in the 23rd minute when Kristie Mewis hit this daisy cutter through traffic and inside the far post. Because of course she’d score on her debut for Chicago against her old team.

The Red Stars posted 7 shots and 2 SOGs before halftime, compared to Washington’s 2 and 0. The visitors really should’ve been up by at least two goals at the half. And yet.

Chicago had plenty of time in the second half to get on top as well. But the Spirit absorbed the pressure and the Red Stars couldn’t find a way to finish. As a colleague as SBN said earlier tonight, Chicago’s biggest league rival is the crossbar.

And then the Spirit pulled a goal back, because of course they did. Cheyna Williams. Off a set piece, because of course they did.

I realize I just sound really down on everything with this team at the moment, but the Red Stars really weren’t great tonight. Against a better team this would’ve been a 2-1 or 3-1 loss.

But Washington aren’t a good team, and we have Christen Press. So.

Chicago only had to hold out for eight minute (if you include stoppage time). I bit my fingernails the whole time.

They managed to hang on to the win. But this sure didn’t feel like victory. We have four games left in the regular season and then, maybe, a playoff game. I honestly don’t know if this side is up for it.

The Chicago Red Stars (9W 5D 6L, 32pts, 3rd place) return to Toyota Park next Sunday to face North Carolina for their last home game of the 2017 regular season .