Arin Wright scored in a 5-2 loss to the OL Reign for her first NWSL goal since 2019. Photo by IMAGN

Arin Wright scored in a 5-2 loss to the OL Reign for her first NWSL goal since 2019. Photo by IMAGN

Pro Sports Report | Dual braces doom Red Stars

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

The Chicago Red Stars and the Chicago Fire II teams were on the losing side of scoring braces on April 22.

For the Red Stars, it was double trouble against the OL Reign as Bethany Balcer and Jess Fishlock scored braces in a 5-2 Reign victory in a NWSL matchup at Lumen Field in Seattle. Balcer also picked up an assist and Megan Rapinoe scored for the Reign (3-1-0).

Red Stars rookie Ally Schlegel scored a goal in her professional debut (1-3-0) and Arin Wright, who has been a defender for Chicago in recent years, picked up her first goal since 2019.

Schlegel entered the game in the 30th minute to replace Cheyna Lee Matthews, who has been ill.

“A lot of us who don’t start take pride in the details and when my name was called, I knew where to be and what to do,” Schlegel said. “I think I have a lot of help behind me when I come on. There are a lot of voices that are leading me and that makes the transition onto the field that much easier.”

What hasn’t been easy has been winning for the Red Stars (1-3-0). Chicago coach Chris Petrucelli has not been happy with his team’s defensive play in the box.

“Our defending in the penalty area hasn’t been good all year,” he said. “We need a little bit of increased intensity and focus in the penalty area, and we just haven’t gotten it. That certainly led to the goals but let’s also give Seattle credit, they have a lot of attacking options.”

The mix of younger and experienced players and the injury to Mallory Swanson is making this season an uphill climb, but it’s still early.

“We have a lot of growing pains,” Schlegel said. “But we’re going to figure it out.”

 

Up next
The Red Stars are back at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview on April 29 for a 7 a.m. games against Washington (2-0-2).

The Spirit are coming off a scoreless draw with Houston.

The Red Stars will open play in the Challenge Cup at 7 p.m. May 3 when they visit Houston at Shell Energy Stadium. The cup used to be played before the start of the NWSL season, but this year it is mixed in with the regular campaign.

 

Fire II loses third straight
The Fire II were the victim of a brace by Atlanta United 2’s Nick Firmino scored in the 10th and 84th minutes in an MLS NEXT Pro game at fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Fire, which opened the season winning their first two games, have lost three straight to fall to 2-3-0.

Chicago hosts Red Bull New York (2-1-2) at 5 p.m. April 30 at SeatGeek Stadium.


Hounds lose fifth straight
Major League Rugby opened the second half of its season over the weekend and the Chicago Hounds lost their fifth straight, this time 37-24 by New Orleans on April 23 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

The Hounds (1-8-0) were able to mount some offense and put points on the board in the second half, but the Gold (4-5-0) had staked themselves to a 31-7 halftime lead and survived the comeback attempt.

After a bye week, the Hounds return to action at 5 p.m. May 6 against Rugby Atlanta at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta.

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