Rachel Hill gets ready to take a shot for the Red Stars against North Carolina. Later the in the match, she scored the lone goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Red Stars keep powerhouse Courage winless in Bridgeview
By Jeff Vorva
Ever since North Carolina came into the National Women’s Soccer League, it has been a power.
The Courage debuted in 2017 and won the regular-season league title in its rookie season and finished as a runnerup in the playoffs.
In 2018 and 2019, the Courage won two more regular-season titles and two playoff championships, including a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars in 2019 to claim the title.
Due to the pandemic, there was no regular NWSL season in 2020, so heading into 2021, the Courage had seemingly done it all in its brief three-year tenure in the league.
Well…except one thing.
The Courage had never won a game in Bridgeview. In five meetings against the Red Stars on the road, NC had a tie and four losses. That included a regular-season battle that drew 17,388 on July 21, 2019, shortly after the United States Women’s National team won the World Cup.
That losing trend continued Saturday, even if the attendance surge didn’t. The Courage came into SeatGeek Stadium full of steam with a previous 5-0 slugging of Louisville, the Red Stars defense held the Courage to one shot on goal.
Chicago’s Rachel Hill scored in traffic in the 29th minute to give The Red Stars a 1-0 victory in front of a sparse crowd. Attendance figures were not available.
“This is a tough place to come,” Courage coach Paul Riley said after his team fell to 1-2-1. “We don’t play well here. I don’t know what it is about this field or this stadium or whatever it is. We never get a good result here.
“Maybe we’ll have to change hotels or something.”
The Red Stars improved to 2-2-1 heading into the international break and are now in sixth place in the 10-team league after they were 10th two weeks ago.
“Any win is big, and it gives you confidence,” midfielder Sarah Woldmoe said. “It helps our principles and team identity. Any kind of win under your belt is going to reinforce those things and hopefully we can carry that on to the next match and the next match.”
Look who’s back
Alyssa Mautz, who had ACL injuries in 2019 and 2020, was back on the field on Saturday, coming in at the 71st minute mark.
She had 14 touches in the game and nine passes.
Look who’s leaving
Goalie goalie Alyssa Naeher, who has three shutouts in five games this season, and defender Tierna Davidson were scheduled to leave for USWNT camp, which includes four games.
There is a scenario that between the camp and the Olympics, it’s possible these two will not be playing for the Red Stars until August.
The Red Stars will take a few days off and get back to practice for a 7 p.m. June 19 home game with third-place Washington (2-1-2).
Washington tied Orlando, 1-1, on Sunday and Ashley Hatch scored her third goal of the season for the Pride’s lone score.