Frantic Final Minutes See Goals from Red Stars and Sky Blue FC in 1-1 Draw
By Kim Tate
In a pair of late-game heroics, the Chicago Red Stars (0-2-2) tied Sky Blue FC (2-1-1) 1-1 at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers in New Jersey Wednesday night. It was the final minutes of the match that provided the most excitement when Sophie Schmidt headed home a goal for Sky Blue in the 88th minute off a Kendall Johnson assist. Just 4 minutes later in stoppage time, late-game Red Stars substitute Alyssa Mautz lobbed a shot over the Sky Blue ‘keeper to even the match.
“Our work-rate and commitment to compete as a group was excellent,” said Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames. “The fact that we went down in the 88th minute and responded to go and get the tying goal shows the kind of perseverance this group has.”
Pregame rain and lightning caused a five-minute kick-off delay and the first-half showed signs of a slippery surface, as players struggled to find their footing. Each team saw looks on frame in the first half, but often shots sailed just wide or just beyond the crossbar. Red Stars goalkeeper Erin McLeod was put under pressure in the 19th minute and had to come out to stop Sky Blue forward Lisa DeVanna from gaining a clear shot on goal. The two would collide and DeVanna had to step off the pitch temporarily before returning to the match.
Chicago’s best look of the first 45 came just before halftime when Ella Masar broke free up the right side of the field, but her shot would launch just north of the crossbar.
In the 64th minute, Lori Chalupny found herself in a 1v1 with Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron, but Cameron came up huge making a one-handed save to keep Chicago off the board. Sky Blue FC got two great opportunities late, starting with a Kelley O’Hara 1v1 in the 81st that went just wide of the goal. Right after, Caitlin Foord nailed a shot off the bottom of the crossbar that bounced back out of the goal. But those were just a warm-up compared to the final frantic 6 minutes of the match that saw each team exchange goals and end in a tie.
Even after the stoppage time Mautz goal, Red Stars forward Ella Masar received a low cross in front of the goal and slotted it away for what looked like the go-ahead goal, but it would be called back due to offside leaving the game at 1-1.
The Red Stars will finish up this 3-game stretch by returning home and meeting Portland Thorns FC on Sunday, May 12th, 5pm CT at Village of Lisle – Benedictine University Sports Complex. It is a rematch of an April 27th meeting that saw the Thorns come out 2-0 victors in Chicago.