Categorized | Lead Story

Red Stars grasp precarious hold on playoff berth

Posted on 08 August 2010 by mwkajdas

Last Saturday night, the Chicago Red Stars grappled league-leading FC Gold Pride to a scoreless draw—the second time in their three meetings this season in which the Red Stars have shut out the presumptive season champs—to move into fourth place in the league standings and tentatively assume the final playoff spot in WPS. The Red Stars are tied in points with Sky Blue FC but maintain a two-goal advantage in the deciding goal differential.

Their hold on fourth place is tenuous at best, however, as Sky Blue have two games in hand on the Red Stars, having played only 17 games so far this season compared to Chicago’s 19. Moreover, the Washington Freedom and Atlanta Beat each also hold a game in hand on the Red Stars while only trailing them in points by one and four points respectively. With only five games remaining on their schedule, the Red Stars find themselves in the dire situation of needing to maximize their results in their final few outings.

The good news for Red Stars fans is that four of the five remaining games will be played at home in Toyota Park, giving them ample opportunity to help their team “Defend Their Turf.” The bad news is that the Red Stars will have to play one of those game against the dominant Gold Pride team and two more against the Philadelphia Independence, a team that has beaten them handily in their two previous encounters. The first showdown against Philadelphia takes place this Wednesday, August 11th at 7:30 p.m.

To make matters worse for the Red Stars, they will be without one of their star forwards. Kosovare Asllani, who scored the game-winning goal against Gold Pride last May, has decided to return to her home country of Sweden to gain more playing time this winter in preparation for next year’s Women’s World Cup. She “mutually terminated” her contract with the Red Stars last Thursday and will be rejoining Linköpings FC, her former team in the Damallsvenskan, the premier women’s league in Sweden.

In her stead, the Red Stars have signed Veronica Boquete Giadans, the diminutive Spanish forward who recently completed a championship season with the USL W-League’s Buffalo Flash while displaying a goal-scoring prowess that caught coach Omid Namazi’s eye. Vero, as she prefers to be called, immediately made her Red Stars debut in the game against Gold Pride, substituting for Cristiane in the 80th minute. In acquiring Vero, however, the Red Stars had to relinquish their International Discovery rights to Swedish forward, Lotta Schelin, of Olympique Lyonnais.

But if Chicago fans did not already have enough reason to attend Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia, it will also be the Red Stars’ annual “Green Game.” Once again, the Red Stars will don unique one-of-a kind green jerseys that fans are invited to bid on in a silent auction being held during the game to benefit the Chicago Red Stars Charitable Foundation. Interested participants will have until the beginning of the second half to enter their bids at a table conveniently set up near the refreshment booths on the upper concourse of Toyota Park.

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