EVANSTON, Ill. (July 7, 2012) — In a rare break from Chicago's recent heat-wave, the Red Stars would capitalize on their one goal of the match to take a victory over the visiting Philadelphia Fever at Northwestern's Lakefront Field Saturday night. On a cool, breezy night the lone goal was scored off a great Chicago team effort that saw several players get a touch on the ball before Lauren Fowlkes would put it away in the 66th minute. Forward Ella Masaris credited with the assist.
Fowlkes had spent much of the match in the center-back position before a switch in the second half that would move her to her more common forward position. It was a change that would pay off for the Red Stars, as she provided the game-winning goal, her team-leading 7thof the season.
The teams would head into halftime squared away at 0-0. With Philly's heavy defensive stance, it looked like the Red Stars might have to settle for a tie, in spite of controlling a sold portion of the game's possession. Early in the match Red Stars' forward Lindsay Schwartzreceived a through-ball on the right side but her shot leapt just over the crossbar in the 16thminute. She would get another look 10 minutes later from a Lori Chalupny through-pass, but again the shot would go just wide.
Just before halftime, substitute Ella Masar surprised the crowd with a quick turn from just inside half-field and launched a long range shot that dipped against the wind and landed just inches over the cross bar, past Philly goalkeeper Michelle Dalton's outstretched hand.
The Red Stars would break the deadlock in the 66th minute with a sequence of passes culminating in Fowlkes' goal from close range. The ball was initially played out to Chalupnyon the left side of the goal near the end line and she played a low ball in that Masar would flick toward Fowlkes. Fowlkes played the ball low into the right corner, past the outstretched arms of Dalton.
A few minutes later it looked as if the Red Stars' outside backs would get in on the action when defender Michelle Wenino played a long cross from the left side of the field into the path of flying right defender Mary Therese McDonnell. McDonnell would connect on the header, but her shot would tip off the top of the crossbar.
Philly provided Chicago a great scare in the waning minutes of the match when they received back-to-back foul calls around the 35 yard line in the 88th and 89th minutes. Philly's free kick would get tipped backwards off a header directly into the path of a charging Fever player. Fortunately for the Red Stars, her open look at goal was miss-hit and cleared harmlessly out of play. The Red Stars would come right back down to the other end of the field and win a corner that defender Ashlee Elliott solidly connected on, but her header was knocked out by Dalton, ending the match.
"We got the 3 points tonight and that is important," said Red Stars' midfielder Jen Buczkowski. "We could have been better in the final third and our speed of play, but overall it was a solid performance. We will continue to build for the final push over these next three weeks."
It was the Red Stars second victory over the Fever this year, following a 4-1 victory in Philly on June 24th. The Red Stars remain tied for 1st place in WPSL Elite league with the Boston Breakers, who had 1 win and 1 loss this weekend. Chicago has a game in hand on Boston and will look to take over sole possession of 1st place over the final 3 games of the season.
The Red Stars are hosting WNY Flash next Saturday, July 14th, at 7pm at Benedictine University in Lisle for their final home match of the season. The Red Stars' suffered their first loss of the year to the Flash, taking a hard 0-3 rout in Rochester back on June 13th. It will not only be crucial as the Red Stars seek to hold down 1st place in the WPSL Elite league, but also an opportunity to even the score on WNY, who is also hosting the WPSL Elite league finals July 25th and 28th.
Tickets for next Saturday's matches are available online now: $15 for Preferred Seating (only available online in advance of match), $10 General Admission (available online and at the gate) at chicagoredstars.com . Group discounts are available by email@example.com .