The Chicago Red Stars’ woes on the pitch continue. The World Cup is officially over and it’s hard to feel like this team hasn’t dug themselves into a rut they cannot get out of despite the return of Sam Kerr.
After a three game losing streak, the Red Stars got a win against Orlando Pride thanks to the return of Kerr and her hat-trick on the night. However the win felt more like a temporary fix. A band-aid on some of the bigger issues that the Red Stars have put themselves through during the World Cup portion of their schedule.
The band-aid came off on Saturday night against Sky Blue FC. The team sitting at the bottom of the table, that just fired its head coach, and has seen a mass exodus of players - came into the Red Stars home, and beat them.
Here’s a few things that stood out during the match.
The last several losses have seen an opposing player as hero
You can look back at each of these losses and find a significant player that out worked the Red Stars, and beat them. During Washington it was Andi Sullivan, against the Reign it was Fishlock, against Sky Blue, it was Rocky Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was able to both disrupt and dominante the mid for Sky Blue against Chicago. She got the opening goal against, the Red Stars, and ultimately put on a 90 minute shift that the Red Stars had no answer for.
It was concerning. It’s been concerning. To watch some teams go up against Chicago and be able to play against them so directly. Whereas in the past, in the days of the Red Stars 4-4-2 narrow diamond, teams would essentially just try and play around their midfield in an effort to build up play against a very organized Chicago mid.
And yet during this stretch of games we’ve seen adjustments. A change in formation, a trade, small rotation in players, and the same result— losses.
Michele Vasconcelos and Casey Short
As the Red Stars try and move on from their June, two bright spots for their squad have been Vasconcelos and Short. Unfortunately Vasconcelos went down with an apparent knee injury during the match. She’s essentially been the come back player of the year, and has been relied upon in different roles whether as a starter or off the bench.
As we await news on her injury, another player provided consistency on the pitch on covering a ton of ground for the Red Stars in in Casey Short. Recently named to the NWSL Team of the Month for the third consecutive time this year, Short also appeared to struggle a bit after some contact to her face during the match.
A speedy recovery to both players.
Short-term memory is a good thing
Red Stars find themselves in a similar position in years prior. With the second half of the season approaching, and embracing themselves for a push in table positioning. The timing couldn’t be better. With some of their teammates returning as World Cup champions, this current squad could do with a case of short-term memory loss and just look ahead to what they can be capable of. Nothing can be done about the points dropped during this time, but something can be done moving forward.
Chicago Red Stars hit the road this week and head to Texas as they face off against Houston Dash on Saturday, July 13.