CHICAGO, Ill. (May 21, 2012) – With the WPSL Elite League having kicked off 10 days ago, the Chicago Red Stars had a patient wait for their season opener yesterday. The visiting FC Indiana Lionesses already had two games in the books for a 0-2-0 record, but having played those games against formidable competition, the Red Stars knew not to look at their record too closely. Late first and second half goals by Julianne Sitch (assist Lori Chalupny) and Lauren Fowlkes (PK) sealed the opening day win for the Red Stars.
The game saw much physical play, including several injury stoppages, in what could be noted as very defensive-minded opponent. The Red Stars were able to control much of the possession but had to seek rare gaps in the defense to break through for scoring opportunities.
Around the 10th minute of the match, the Lionesses got off a low blast that went just wide of the Red Stars’ net. Shortly after, in the 15th minute, Red Stars’ Lori Chalupny broke down the right side of the field and got off a cross from the end line but it sailed just over the heads of the rushing Red Stars’ forwards.
One of the best chances for the Red Stars came in the 30th minute after an FC Indiana yellow card by Maire Dina Jean Pierre where the Stars found themselves a free kick around the Indiana 30 yard mark. Chalupny sent a ball into the box that found the leaping head of Alyssa Mautz. Mautz was able to put it across the goal face towards a lunging Sammy Scofield, but it fell just out of reach.
It looked like the teams would head to halftime without any goals, when in stoppage time it was Chalupny again finding herself in crossing range. She sent a ball into the box where Julianne Sitch placed a beautiful volley into the net, sending Chicago into the locker room with a deserved one-goal lead.
The second half saw much of the same action, with the Lionesses sitting back and looking for a counter opportunity and the Red Stars finding themselves several scoring opportunities, but no goals. It looked as if the game would end 1-0 when Red Stars’ Michele Weissenhofer was fouled in the Lionesses’ box. Lauren Fowlkes stepped up and slotted the penalty home, leaving the Red Stars with a 2-0 victory, and a 1-0-0 start to the season.
“We’re pleased with how we played today and being able to get that first win as a team is important,” remarked Chalupny. “We knew it was going to be a physical game but we stuck with our game plan and will use this as a step towards continuing improvement as a group.”
The Red Stars will head to South Bend on Friday for a rematch with the Lionesses. The game will take place at Invaders Soccer Complex (55200 Pine Road, South Bend, IN, 46628) with a 6 PM CT kickoff.
“We know what to expect heading into Friday’s match against them again,” said Julianne Sitch. “We corrected what we needed to correct in the second half of the game and feel good about getting the first win of the season.”
Shots: Chicago 14, FC Indiana 2
Shots on Goal: Chicago 9, FC Indiana 1
Saves: Chicago (Forbes) 1, FC Indiana (Geralda Saintilus) 8
Fouls: Chicago 3, FC Indiana 13
Corners: Chicago 7, FC Indiana 1
Cards: FC Indiana 2 (Maire Dina Jeanne Pierre [Y], Natacha Cajuste [Y])
Goals: Julianne Sitch (45’ Assist by Lori Chalupny), Lauren Fowlkes (88’ PK)
Chicago: Jamie Forbes, Lauren Alkek (Kara Kabellis 68’), Michelle Wenino (Ashlee Elliott 90’), Sammy Scofield, Elise Addis, Jen Buczkowski (Kelsey Hough 90’), Julianne Sitch, Lori Chalupny, Alyssa Mautz (Vanessa Laxgang 90’), Lauren Fowlkes (Lindsay Schwartz 90’), Michele Weissenhofer (Allison Doyle 90’)
Geralda Santilus, Kencia Merseille, Fiorda Charles, Carmela Aristilde, Dina Jean Pierre, Nadia Valentin, Jordan Clark, Lovely Placide, Wisiline Dolce, Sophia Batard, Manouchecka Pierre Louis
Subs Used: Abby Skoda, Marie Louise Valer, Natacha Cajuste, Shanel Gall, Darlene Ciquot, Felicia Libertin
NEXT HOME MATCH: vs Boston Breakers. Date/Time: Sunday, June 3rd at 5pm Venue: North Central College, Naperville, IL. Tickets on sale now at www.chicagoredstars.com.
**MORE PICTURES COMING SOON**
The WPSL Elite League is new in 2012. The 8-team league is ASA Chesapeake Charge, Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny, New York Fury, Philadelphia Fever, and WNY Flash.
Join our mailing list at www.chicagoredstars.com for details and follow the team on twitter @chicagoredstars and facebook.com/chicagoredstars.