Mallory Swanson of the Red Stars opened the season with a goal in a 3-2 loss to San Diego on Saturday, March 25. Photo by IMAGN

Mallory Swanson of the Red Stars opened the season with a goal in a 3-2 loss to San Diego on Saturday, March 25. Photo by IMAGN

Pro Sports Report | Alex Morgan converts PK and Wave tops Red Stars in opener

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Two of the best scorers in the NWSL made great first impressions to begin the 2023 season.

The Chicago Red Stars’ Mallory Swanson, coming off a scoring explosion in the SheBelieves Cup earlier in the year, scored a tying goal on a penalty kick in extra time in the first half of the season-opening road game against San Diego.

Unfortunately for the Stars, the league’s leading scorer in 2022 plays for the Wave and had some last-minute heroics up her sleeve. Alex Morgan scored in the 89th minute with a penalty kick of her own and  San Diego came up with a 3-2 triumph over the Stars in front of 30,854 fans at Snapdragon Stadium on March 25.

Red Stars coach Chris Petrucelli had mixed emotions after the opener.

“It’s a hard thing,” he said. “I’m proud of them and they played their butts off in a tough environment against a good team. But in the end, we walk home with no points. That’s disappointing.

“I’m happy with how we played, I’m just not real happy with the result.”

Last year, the Wave beat the Stars, 2-1 in San Diego, 1-0 at Soldier Field and 2-1 in the NWSL quarterfinals.

Yuki Nagasato scored Chicago’s first goal of the season at the 17-minute mark. Swanson scored to close out the first half but the Stars were blanked over the final 45 minutes.

Casey Krueger (maternity leave) and Tierna Davidson (injury) were back after missing the 2022 season, but Krueger had to leave the game in the 13th minute with a head injury. Davidson had leg issues and didn’t train all week, but was given clearance to play and was on the field for 84 minutes.

“We saw some good things with the team, and we saw some things we need to work on,” Davidson said. “That’s generally what you get from a first game.”

Davidson said she had a few nerves heading into the game. She also said she felt bad for Krueger’s early exit.

“It was definitely tough, we definitely wanted to see her play a lot of minutes because she’s a great player and she hasn’t played in a while,” Davidson said. “We were excited for her to return. But losing any player on the field you have to make the adjustments and move players where they fit in.”

Jaedyn Shaw, 18, scored her fourth career goal — two of which have come against the Stars. Amirah Ali added a goal for San Deigo.

Also starting for the Wave was Danielle Colaprico, who spent eight seasons with the Stars.

The Stars had a 15-9 shot advantage in the setback.

TATUMN scaled

Orland Park’s Tatumn Milazzo moves the ball up the field for the Chicago Red Stars against San Diego on Saturday, March 25. This is her third year with Chicago. Photo by IMAGN

 

Up next
The Red Stars will host Houston at 1 p.m. on April 1.

Houston opened the season with a 0-0 draw with Louisville on March 26.

Last year, the Red Stars were thumped 4-1 by the Dash in Houston on July 16 and dropped a 1-0 decision to Houston on Sept. 17 in Bridgeview.  Ebony Salmon scored in both games for the Dash.

 

Seawolves swamp Hounds
Seattle played like it wants to make a return trip to Bridgeview on July 8.

That’s when SeatGeek Stadium hosts the Major League Rugby Championship game.

The Seawolves (5-0-0) looked championship-worthy when they took a 27-5 halftime lead against the Hounds (1-4-0) and that lead stood as lighting and rain forced the cancellation of the rest of the game.

Chicago’s Matt O’Keefe became the 40th player in MLR history to achieve 50 caps a.k.a. appearances.

The Hounds will host their fourth straight game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, when they face Houston (4-1-0).

The SaberCats beat Rugby Atlanta, 40-28, on March 25.

 

Fire II
The Chicago Fire II ended its inaugural campaign in 2022 with a 1-0 victory over Miami CF II to end a rough MLS NEXT Pro season on a high note.

The Fire was hoping to keep the good feelings going on Sunday March 26 in its season opener at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and it did just that with a 3-1 victory.

Matteo Kidd, Billy Hency and Alex Monis scored for the Fire.

The Fire makes its SeatGeek Stadium season debut on Friday, March 31 in a 6 p.m. matchup against Toronto.

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