Red Stars fail to break Sky Blue curse in 1-0 loss

Posted on 26 April 2010 by mwkajdas

It was a disappointing game before a disappointing crowd of only 3136 fans who braved disappointing weather conditions to watch their team wallow in the disappointment of having another gallant effort thwarted. The Red Stars, who have yet to score against Sky Blue FC, found the back of the net twice Saturday night, only to have both goals negated by offside calls while Sky Blue, who showed little offense throughout the match, once again took advantage of a broken play to score the single goal that would decide the game.

If you arrived at the stadium a half-hour late you would have missed very little as both teams struggled to advance beyond midfield under the wet and windy conditions. “It’s hard playing in those conditions,” Karen Carney commented after the game. “We don’t like to play in that weather. The wind was tough. So every time we would play the ball, the ball would go out of play or it would go to the keeper where on a good day, like last week, it probably wouldn’t have.”

Red Stars fans got a scare early in the 2nd minute of play when Whitney Engen launched a free kick into the Sky Blue box where a leaping Kosovare Asllani collided with Sky Blue keeper, Karen Bardsley. Asllani had to be helped off the pitch but was able to return to the game four minutes later.

There was also a brief moment of excitement in the 11th minute when Brittany Klein stripped the ball at midfield from her former teammate, Carli Lloyd, and fed it to Karen Carney in the penalty box but Carney shot the ball wide to the right of the net. Lloyd seemed to be renewing acquaintances with several of her old teammates throughout the opening minutes of the match as she played a much more physical game than Red Stars fans were ever used to seeing from her. She was rewarded for her efforts with a yellow card in the 18th minute after one of her body slams sent Cristiane sprawling backwards onto the turf. Karma kicked in 11 minutes later when it was Lloyd’s turn to lay crumpled on the grass. She limped off to her bench where she sat for seven minutes before Kacey White was eventually sent in to replace her.

The Red Stars’ scoring drought against New Jersey appeared to have been broken in the 40th minute when Marian Dalmy, racing with the ball down the right sideline, crossed it to Kosovare Asllani, who then jabbed the ball into the net. Before she could celebrate Chicago’s first ever goal against Sky Blue, however, the offside flag popped up to spoil the party. Four minutes later, a Dalmy free kick from the center line hooked up with Asllani once again. But the young Swede headed the ball right into the goalkeeper’s gloved hands just before both teams retired to their locker rooms after a scoreless half.

Speaking in a half-time interview, Red Stars coach Emma Hayes rejoiced that her team had not conceded a goal in the first five minutes of the game as they had in their two previous outings. But perhaps she should have stayed in the locker room to remind her players again, because they began the second half by giving up an easy goal. As a drizzling rain blew across the field, Kacey White deflected a ball to Tasha Kai who was standing conspicuously alone at the top of the box. But the offside flag stayed down as the ball was flipped up and over a charging Jillian Loyden. Both players watched along with the stunned crowd as the ball rolled slowly over the wet grass and in between the goal posts.

“That goal from Kai came out of nothing. I thought we were in control of the game and we were doing really, really well and then we get sucker-punched,” Karen Carney lamented after the game. Sky Blue coach Paula Miettinen had a different, though equally reserved, reaction. “I saw that Tasha scored and that’s pretty much everything I saw. I can’t remember what happened. I don’t know if it was offside or not but, you know, we’ll take the goal,” she admitted. “I think we got lucky today…there were so many chances that Chicago created all credit to them for those chances. But I think teams have to earn their luck and today we were a little bit luckier.”

Luck was certainly not on Chicago’s side in the second half either despite the fact that they spent most of the time attacking inside Sky Blue’s half of the pitch. In the 50th minute, a Karen Carney shot hit the left post. Five minutes later, Carney crossed the ball to Cristiane inside the box but her shot was blocked. The rebound came back to Carney in front of the net but her blast bounced off the body of Daphne Koster. In the 62nd minute, Asllani crossed to Carney just outside the 6-yard box but her point-blank shot was blocked by Bardsley. Ten minutes later, Carney crossed into the box again but this time Asllani’s header was saved by a diving Bardsley. Ella Masar came into the game in the 75th minute and found herself standing in front of a prone Karen Bardsley after catching the rebound from her save but she failed to find a teammate to take an open shot. Three minutes later Whitney Engen took a corner from Asllani and headed it past Bardsley only to find Keeley Dowling hugging the far right post in just the right place to make the save.

But the worst of their luck came in the 68th minute when Cristiane deflected Karen Carney’s cross into the net and, for the second time, the offside flag was raised. “I don’t know if those finishes, both Asllani’s and Cristiane’s finishes, were they on or offside,” Emma Hayes spoke judiciously afterward, having been fined for her complaints about officiating the week before. “I don’t know that or whether Kai was offside. If either one of them were wrong decisions then it means we don’t quite get inside the luck just yet… At least the crowd thought there was an offside goal on their part and an onside goal on ours. It’s not my job to comment on officials. You can be the judge on that. And I’m sure the league will deal with that appropriately.”

“We didn’t get murdered tonight,” Karen Carney put things into perspective after the game. “We didn’t get murdered last week. Quite the opposite. We just have to find that last little gear and keep on from there.

Match Facts

Chicago Red Stars vs Sky Blue FC
Apr. 25, 2010 – Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL
Attendance: 3,136
Weather: Windy, rainy and 54 degrees

Scoring
52’ Sky Blue FC: Tasha Kai (Kacey White)

Misconduct
18’ Sky Blue: Carli Lloyd (yellow card)

Lineups
Chicago Red Stars: Jillian Loyden, Marian Dalmy, Ifeoma Dieke, Whitney Engen, Kate Markgraf, Brittany Klein (58: Formiga), Kosovare Asllani, Karen Carney (74: Ella Masar), Katie Chapman, Julianne Sitch (56: Casey Nogueira), Cristiane

Sky Blue FC: Karen Bardsley, Daphne Koster, Tasha Kai (80: Kiersten Dallstream), Meghan Schnur, Heather O’Reilly, Carli Lloyd (36: Kacey White), Rosana, Jessica Landström (70: Katie Schoepfer), Brittany Taylor, Keeley Dowling, Laura Kalmari

Officials
Referee: Margaret Domka
Asst Referees: Kristen Schiereck, Ian Gut
4th Official: Jorge Cuate

2 Comments For This Post

  1. nikhak Says:

    “But I think teams have to earn their luck and today we were a little bit luckier.”

    I'm not really sure what this means, but if the statement is true, I think the Red Stars have already done enough to “earn their luck”.

    sigh.

  2. nikhak Says:

    “But I think teams have to earn their luck and today we were a little bit luckier.”

    I'm not really sure what this means, but if the statement is true, I think the Red Stars have already done enough to “earn their luck”.

    sigh.

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