The NWSL announced their Best and Second XI earlier today, with two Chicago Red Stars named to the group. Sam Kerr was included on the first team, and Julie Ertz featured on the second.
Kerr making the Best XI wasn’t a shock, since she earned the Golden Boot for the second year in a row, with 16 goals and four assists. She also led the league in shots on goal with 47.
Ertz being named to the Second XI was maybe a little bit more of a surprise, considering she missed some of the early part of the season due to injury, and bounced around in different positions for the Red Stars when she was available. However, despite sliding back into defense only after the big midseason trade that sent Samantha Johnson to the Utah Royals FC, she was rewarded for her solid work (and the name recognition probably didn’t hurt).
More troubling was the omission of Yuki Nagasato and Danny Colaprico from any of the league-wide laudits. Nagasato was a constant source of playmaking for Chicago throughout the year. Her passing numbers were off the charts, with 74.2% of her long passes rating as successful (actually higher than her average pass rate of 74%). And Colaprico held her own in the No. 6 spot for the Red Stars, with over 40% of her passes moving forward, and winning almost 60% of her aerial duels.
No matter what, Chicago had an impressive squad this year, and the post-season awards should reflect that. Kerr and Ertz are a good start, but one hopes that someday the Red Stars’ midfield will get more of the credit that it deserves.