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Reign FC 0, Chicago Red Stars 4: What We Learned

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Nikita Taparia Photography

Just when you thought you were getting over the last Chicago Red Stars win, they go on the road and get themselves another one. If last weeks’ win was a statement, this latest win is the flex. The one that reminded everyone that the Red Stars know who they are, even if they’re playing soccer that is unfamiliar to you.

The Red Stars headed to Tacoma, Washington to take on Reign FC in an attendance record setting match in the Reign’s new home, Cheney Stadium. Chicago scored four goals on the day, and recorded a shutout as their most recent win has them sitting in third place on the league table.

Here’s some things we learned in the Red Stars most recent win.

The Brightest Star

Every once in awhile we get to witness some dominant performances on the pitch. Fearless play, seamless passing, or pretty goals. Yuki Nagasato, gave fans watching all those things on Sunday as she enchanted us within the first 5 minutes of the match.

Her play on the ball led to an opening goal from Arin Wright, while her own goal - a leaping redirected shot assisted by Casey Short - is currently up for Goal of the Week.

Nagasato kicked off this season picking up where she left off last year with assisting on Sam Kerr goals and scoring her own. As the Red Stars went through a rough patch of games during the World Cup, Nagasato’s work rate didn’t slow down, as she started every game, and tried to generate offense. Despite the team not getting wins, her ability to facilitate an offensive attack was still present in games that didn’t produce goals during their losing streak.

“That was yuki’s best game of the year. Yuki works in mysterious ways,” said Head Coach Rory Dames in post game comments. “Her willingness to come get involved and find the pockets between when to go out and when come in was really good tonight.”

Chicago has a club that is home to two of the biggest stars produce superior soccer performances right now in Julie Ertz and Sam Kerr. But beyond the dominant athleticism on the roster, they lay claim to one of soccer’s most brilliant minds in Nagasato.

We run plays, this shit a sport

The midfield over the last two games have navigated the type of soccer that the Red Stars have been striving for over the last year or so.

“This week we really connected. Playing North Carolina as our first game back from the World cup it was just so much running [. . .] and I think kind of having that win gave us a lot of confidence going into this game,” said Ertz in post game comments.

The return of Morgan Brian and Ertz partnered with Vanessa DiBernardo has paved a way for the Red Stars to establish and control the tempo of their most recent wins.

“I think the really fun thing about playing with V and Moe in the middle is that we’ve been able to kind of interchange, depending on what the games give us,” said Ertz.

“I was able to kind of go and be a 10 slot at times as well which is definitely fun. So, as a midfielder with kind of free range - and a lot of confidence from the coaches - that allowed us to kind of see what the game gives us.”

You Know You My Favorite Shooter

Goals. There were four of them. By four different players. They were all ridiculously dope. You should watch them all again.

Next Match

On Saturday, Chicago faces a Utah Royals team winless in their last five matches. The U.S. World Cup victory tour also kicks off this weekend and both teams could be without a number of their U.S. national team players.