In what was the team’s first victory since the beginning of July, the Chicago Red Stars defeated Gotham FC 2-0. The three points bumped the Red Stars to fourth in the table, now sitting just two points behind league leaders Portland. The Red Stars looked dominant throughout, having the ball 65 percent of the time. Gotham was forced to chase the game from behind and struggled to get any sort of rhythm going and never looked dangerous.
The middle to end of the first half was characterized by a plethora of Red Stars chances, one or two of which probably should have resulted in goals. The home crowd could sense a goal was coming, and sure enough, the opener came in the 4th minute of first-half stoppage time. Danielle Colaprico, who had looked bright all evening, picked up a loose ball at the top of the box to then picked out an on-running Tatumn Milazzo. Milazzo connected with Colaprico’s cross to head past goalkeeper Michelle Betos, giving the Red Stars the lead in what was essentially the last kick of the half.
Milazzo continued her fantastic performance in the second half, as she made a great challenge on Margaret Puce, in what was one of the only times Gotham got inside Chicago’s box. Although Gotham made good defensive adjustments by playing a higher line and by increasing their press in the second half, their effort was all for naught. Chicago was still able to carve out chances, just as they had done in the first period of play. The Red Star’s first chance of the second half came in the 55th minute when a Sarah Luebbert half-volley was saved.
The icing on the cake came in the 66th minute. Following a foul on the right wing, Mal Pugh’s out-swinging free kick found the head of Ava Cook to give the Red Stars a two-goal advantage. The Pugh/Cook linkup almost worked for the second time that night in the 71st, but this time, Cook’s header was saved. The Red Stars continued to push for another goal up until the final whistle, looking to put an exclamation point on their wonderful performance, but it was not to be.
In addition to Sunday being their first win in over a month, it was also the team’s first clean sheet since that victory. Chicago has now beaten Gotham twice this season by a combined score of 5 goals to 0. It wasn’t just the result that was nice, but the performance itself was also excellent. The Red Stars had command over the whole match, and at no point did it ever look like Gotham had a chance in this game, especially after the first goal went in. Now the question is, can the Red Stars can use this result to help establish momentum for their upcoming run of games?
Only time will tell.
The Red Stars go again next Sunday against Angel City in Los Angeles.