The Chicago Red Stars got back to winning on Sunday as they took on reigning NWSL champions North Carolina.
It was a Mother’s Day matchup that featured some squad rotation for both teams due to players off on international duty. For the Red Stars that included having to deal with some additional missing players other than their U.S. Nationals.
In their previous match against Utah Royals, Katie Johnson was issued a red card and per league rules would face an automatic suspension for the next game, and in the days leading into the match against North Carolina, Chicago announced that long time Red Star Alyssa Mautz suffered an ACL tear in training.
Even with the Courage on the road and missing integral parts of their own team, were perceived to be the team to walk away with the result this weekend. The Red Stars had other plans, and put together a performance worthy of a win.
Here’s some things that stood out.
Moms Rule, Courage Drool
Having a game on Mother’s Day with the home team having a couple of Bad Ass Moms on the squad was going to be a match note. However having an impact on the match is an entirely different story. Enter Michele Vasconcelos and Sarah Gorden.
With Tierna Davidson and Julie Ertz out on National Team duty, Gorden has slid into the left center back role alongside Katie Naughton. Going up against the Courage she showed off her pace once again keeping up with constantly shooting North Carolina. Her four clearances on the night helped the backline keep the damage low from the Courage with their one goal on the scoresheet.
Vasconcelos got her first start of the season after coming off the bench for Chicago the last 5 weeks. She went 66 minutes in the Red Stars win, and after receiving a ball from Sam Kerr, she scored Chicago’s second goal of the night.
Your mom might be good at soccer, but can she slot a ball perfectly from 20 yards out like Scarlett's mom? Nah.#MKOT | #MothersDay pic.twitter.com/f71A4lq13W— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) May 12, 2019
“For her to get a goal on Mother’s Day I thought was pretty cool,” said Head Coach Rory Dames.
He joked, “it would have been cooler if she got two, but I’m happy for her. I’m sure Scarlett will be happy when she wakes up tomorrow.”
The goal found its way through several defenders and the goalkeeper, and while Vasconcelos had more opportunities on goal during the match, it’s not overstating that the start of the her season is incredibly promising for the Chicago’s next series of matches in a World Cup year.
Sam Kerr Says Goodbye With A Back Flip
In a shock to no one, Kerr was named to Austraila’s World Cup roster. The golden boot winner had an MVP like performance on the evening against North Carolina, with 2 goals, and 1 assist.
Kerr opened up the offense with scoring the Red Stars first goal in the 13th minute as Yuki Nagasato threaded a ball through to the Matildas captain. Kerr carried the ball into the box stretching her defender before putting enough power on her shot to have the ball bobble through the keeper’s hands and into the net.
Kerr’s second goal, Chicago’s third on the night, ultimately ensured the victory for the Red Stars.
To: @murph_vas7 & @sarahlgorden— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) May 13, 2019
❤️: @samkerr1 #HappyMothersDay | #MKOT pic.twitter.com/yeesLBugf4
Since her arrival to the club, Kerr has razzle and dazzled Red Stars fans with her offensive magic. However, ever infamous Back Flip goal celebrations had yet to be unleashed to loyal fans in the stands. Kerr pulled out the celly in her final home match before heading off for the World Cup.
The entire sequence was worth the wait.
Chicago fans, thank you AGAIN for staying out in the bad weather for us! & y’all been waiting to long for the flip... ❤️ #MKOT— Sam Kerr (@samkerr1) May 13, 2019
Chicago Red Stars have one more game with Kerr, this time on the road, as they head to Texas to take on Houston Dash on May 19.