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Dog day for Red Stars results in 3-1 loss to Breakers

Posted on 26 July 2010 by mwkajdas

Sunday was “Dog Day” at Toyota Park—the Red Stars invited their fans to bring their pet pooches to their game against the Boston Breakers—and, as if caught up in the spirit of the occasion, the Red Stars played a dog of a first half, allowing three goals in the game’s first fifteen minutes. The early onslaught was enough to seal the Red Stars’ fate, handing them a devastating 3-1 defeat and dropping them back into fifth place in the league standings, where they have resided for nearly the entire season.

The Breakers drew first blood in the 9th minute, when the ball took a bad bounce between Marian Dalmy and Whitney Engen and neither was able to control it. Kelly Smith intervened to give them both a lesson in ball handling as she calmly strode into the 18-yard box and deposited the ball into the net.

In the 12th minute, Lindsay Tarpley burned her old teammates when she headed the ball over the Red Stars’ defense and straight onto the boot of Kelly Smith, who, once again, charged the net and slid the ball just inside the right goal post. Two minutes later, Kelly Smith launched a free kick into the penalty area, which Marian Dalmy unwisely let roll for goalkeeper Jillian Loyden to scoop up. Unfortunately for them both, Ifeoma Dieke ran in behind Dalmy and—thank you very much—tucked the ball away past a helpless Loyden. The goal must have been sweet revenge for Dieke, who was released by the Red Stars earlier this season.

“I’m embarrassed about our performance in the first half,” Red Stars coach, Omid Namazi, admitted after the game. “When you put yourself in the hole like that, it’s tough to come back, especially with a team like ours, who struggles to get any goals. So I’m very, very disappointed and very embarrassed about the way we played in the first half.

“You want to have somebody on your team where, when you go down 1-0, that someone grabs your team by the throat—by the seat of the pants—and you say, “Let’s go.” But unfortunately, you give up the first goal and it seems like everybody has their head down. And the second goal happens real quickly after that… I’m embarrassed. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like that in 12 years of coaching, where a team is going down the field and scoring at will.”

Down by three goals and desperate to catch up, Namazi pulled defender Natalie Spilger in the 25th minute to add an extra attacker in Kosovare Asllani. The change almost paid off a minute later when a Red Stars’ cross in front of goal was headed out by the Boston defense and right to Cristiane, who was stalking just outside the 6-yard box. Unfortunately, Cristiane’s blast bounced off the crossbar and Asllani’s rebound header arced back just over the net. In the 28th minute, Cristiane crossed the ball in front of net again but, this time, it was just out of reach of Ella Masar, who slid to the ground in a valiant attempt to punch the ball into the open net.

The Breakers almost scored again in the 32nd minute when Kelly Smith drove the ball down the right sideline and passed it back to Lindsay Tarpley. Tarps crossed the ball to the right goalpost where Lauren Cheney pushed her diving header just outside the frame.

In the second half, the Red Stars continued their flurry of attack, denying the Breakers any chance to take advantage of their depleted defense. In the 52nd minute, Marian Dalmy crossed the ball from the right corner to Kosovare Asllani, waiting in front of net, but Asllani’s tap-in attempt went straight into Alyssa Naeher’s gloves. A minute later, Megan Rapinoe dragged a couple of Boston defenders up the left sideline, then dropped the ball back to Kosovare Asllani. Asllani crossed the ball to Cristiane but her shot hit the left post. In the 57th minute, a corner kick from Karen Carney found Asllani just 3 yards from net but Naeher made another crucial save on her shot.

The Red Stars finally broke onto the scoreboard in the 80th minute of play when Laura del Rio fouled Cristiane just outside the left corner of the penalty area. Casey Nogueira’s free kick cruised through the box untouched until Asllani redirected it inside the left post.

But the goal proved to be too little and too late for the Red Stars. Boston almost tallied back in the 84th minute when Laura del Rio out-muscled Kate Markgraf and made a solo charge into the 18-yard box. She blistered a shot at the far post but Jillian Loyden came up big with a diving save to prevent further humiliation to her team. After that, Boston switched to defensive mode, substituting out Kelly Smith for defender Taryn Hemmings, and ran out the remaining minutes on the clock.

“My strategy from now on, going into every game, is high pressure,” Namazi vowed after the game. “Because, I feel like our team, when we sit back, our energy level drops. So, let’s force the action. Let’s go out there. And, when we’ve done that, we’ve been successful.

“We need to be playing with a mean streak, playing with a chip on our shoulder, playing with an edge. It’s what we lack on this team… We’re a very young team. And, unless we grow up quickly, we don’t have any chance of making the playoffs.”

Match Summary

Chicago Red Stars (4-7-5) vs Boston Breakers (5-6-4)
July 25, 2010 – Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL
Attendance: 3673
Weather: 83 degrees under sunny skies

Scoring
9’ Boston: Kelly Smith (unassisted)
12’ Boston: Kelly Smith (Lindsay Tarpley)
14’ Boston: Ifeoma Dieke (Kelly Smith)
80’ Chicago: Kosovare Asllani (Casey Nogueira)

Misconduct
None

Lineups
Chicago Red Stars:
Jillian Loyden
Natalie Spilger (24: Kosovare Asllani)
Kate Markgraf
Whitney Engen
Marian Dalmy
Megan Rapinoe (69: Nikki Washington)
Formiga
Karen Carney
Katie Chapman
Cristiane
Ella Masar (59: Casey Nogueira)

Boston Breakers:
Alyssa Naeher
Stephanie Cox
Ifeoma Dieke
Amy LePeilbet
Alex Scott
Lindsay Tarpley
Leslie Osborne
Jordan Angeli (72: Laura del Rio)
Kristine Lilly
Kelly Smith (88: Taryn Hemmings)
Lauren Cheney

Officials
Referee: Allen Chapman
Asst Referees: Vicente Cortes, Miguel Panduro
4th Official: Victor Herrera

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