1st-place NC Courage take tough 2-1 loss at Chicago
Posted September 4
Despite a strong effort from the first-place NC Courage, the Chicago Red Stars slipped by 2-1 on Sunday night at Toyota Park. The Courage remains in first place in the NWSL with 42 points.
An early goal from Lynn Williams gave the Courage a lead that held through halftime, but two second-half goals, including a tally in the 84th minute led to the win for Chicago.
After a dominant start from the first whistle, the Courage scored in the 15th minute when Williams scored off an assist from Jessica McDonald. The play started in the midfield when McCall Zerboni dispossessed a Red Stars midfielder. Zerboni fed McDonald who found Williams behind the defense. The forward added a composed finish for her sixth goal of the season, while McDonald picked up her third assist of 2017.
The Courage continued its attacking play for most of the half, accumulating 12 total shots in the opening 45 minutes. Williams nearly added a second goal in the 33rd minute after chipping Chicago’s goalkeeper, but the goal was canceled out by an offside call.
On the defensive end, the Courage backline held strong, limited Chicago to just three shots with none on target in the first half.
Following the restart, the Red Stars opted to bring on Yuki Nagasato. The forward made a huge impact for the Red Stars, scoring the equalizer and providing the assist on the game-winning goal.
The Courage looked set to double its lead early in the half. Denise O’Sullivan dribbled through most of the Chicago defense and cut the ball past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher towards an open net, but a last-second clearance from the Chicago defense kept the Red Stars in the match.
The home side used a lightning fast counter attack to draw level in the 52nd minute when Nagasato tapped in a goal off an assist from Christen Press. Press pulled Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland off her line on a breakaway and found an open Nagasato for the equalizer.
With time winding down, the Red Stars struck again after Nagasato got on the end of a clearance. Nagasato played a cross into the Courage’s box and found the head of Julie Ertz, who headed in the cross in the 84th minute.
The Red Stars held off the Courage over the final minutes of the match to hold on for the win.