River Forest, Ill. (June 9, 2012) – The Red Stars have taken their 2012 WPSL Elite league win-streak to four games, with a 2-1 victory over the visiting NY Fury Friday night. Alyssa Mautz’s lunging goal in the 26th minute, off the head of Lauren Fowlkes, gave Chicago a 1-0 lead heading into the half. They would build on that with an unassisted Michele Weissenhofer goal in 69th minute. NY Fury found their way back into the match in the 83rd minute when a Red Stars’ defensive error allowed Claire Zimmeck an open look on goal, which she easily capitalized on, but the Red Stars would hold on to secure a victory.
In spite of the 80 degree heat, the first 10 minutes of the match showed an athletic, fast-paced, end-to-end style of soccer with neither team holding back offensively. The Red Stars found the first opportunities of the game with several low end-line crosses that Fury goalkeeper Michelle Betos was able to scoop up. The Fury were right back on the other end earning a foul along the top of the 18 box, which was shot expertly over the Red Stars’ wall, but into the outstretched hands of Chicago goalkeeper Jamie Forbes.
But it would be the Red Stars with the first strike of the match in the 26th minute off the hard work of forward Michele Weissenhofer streaking her way to the end-line and releasing a cross into the box. She found the head of her strike-partner Lauren Fowlkes who managed to put the ball into the path of lunging midfielder Alyssa Mautz, who earned her first goal of the season.
“Michele got away wide on the right side and sent us a great ball across the goal,” said Mautz. “I was just lucky enough to slide and get a foot on it.”
During first-half stoppage time, the Red Stars put themselves in a position to gain a 2-goal lead with several crosses into the Fury box. Red Stars’ midfielder Lori Chalupny found the end of one of them, but placed it just over the bar. Another shot by Lauren Fowlkes was tipped along the ground by Betos, and rolled near the goal-line just as Fury defender (and former WPS Red Stars player) Nikki Krzysik cleared it out of harm’s way.
The sun receeded as the 2nd half began, but each team continued to push offensively with the pace back and forth, as in the first half. The Red Stars may have had more looks at goal, but the Fury remained in the game with several chances of their own. It was the Red Stars, however, that took advantage of an errant goalkick by the Fury ‘keeper that was placed into the path of Weissenhofer, who took advantage and gave the Red Stars a 2-0 lead.
The favor was reciprocated by the Red Stars in 83rd minute when Red Stars’ defender Elise Addis retreated a pass towards Forbes that looked to be within easy reach to clear out of danger. But a rushing Fury forward was able to pressure the pass and Forbes’ attempt to step out of her path sent the ball right into the lane of Fury forward Claire Zimmeck, who received an open look at the net and put NY back in the game.
Chicago was able to hold out for the tense final minutes and secure their 4th victory in as many games to begin their season, and move into 2nd place in the league standings, although they still have 2 games in-hand on leaders Boston. The Red Stars have now scored 7 times this season while only allowing one opponent goal. The Fury’s record drops to 3-2-1, good for 3rd place in the league standings.
Red Stars’ Head Coach Rory Dames is optimistic about how the team is playing, but remains cautious when assessing the overall picture.
“The first half we created a lot of chances, but our commitment in the box still isn’t good enough,” he stated. “We’ve gotten better at everything we’ve been training on, but our game fitness is still only around 60 minutes so there are still improvements we have to make. We didn’t have Jackie (Santacaterina, defender), we didn’t have Lu (midfielder Julianne Sitch), but MT (defender Mary Therese McDonnell) gets her first start today and Zoey (Goralski, midfielder) comes in at 17 years-old and gets 35 minutes, so we’ve been able to continue expanding our training pool.”
“We’ll always try to go and get that third goal, but we have to manage our shape and balance better. These players are all good enough that I know we’ll improve.”
The Red Stars are home TOMORROW: Sunday, June 10th vs Chesapeake Charge at 3pm: North Central College, Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, Naperville, IL. Individual tickets on sale now at www.chicagoredstars.com. Group tickets available by emailing email@example.com.
Shots: Chicago 13, NY 8
Shots on Goal: Chicago 7, NY 6
Fouls: Chicago 10, NY 7
Corners: Chicago 4, NY 1
Goals: Red Stars’ Alyssa Mautz 26’ (Assisted by Lauren Fowlkes), Red Stars’ Michele Weissenhofer 69’ (unassisted), Fury Claire Zimmeck 83’ (unassisted)
Chicago: Jamie Forbes (GK), Lauren Alkek (Elise Addis 36’), Michelle Wenino, Sammy Scofield, Mary Therese McDonnell, Jen Buczkowski, Lori Chalupny, Alyssa Mautz, Amanda Cinalli (Zoey Goralski 50’), Lauren Fowlkes (Nicole Lipp 82’), Michele Weissenhofer (Shayla Mutz 74’)
NY: Michelle Betos (GK), Kim Yokers, Leigh Ann Robinson, Nikki Krzysik, Kia McNeil (Jazmyne Avant 50’), Brittany Taylor, Sinead Farrelly, Meghan Lynczyk, Merritt Mathias, Tina DiMartino (Jasmyne Spencer 63’), Estelle Johnson (Claire Zimmeck 74’)
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.