Alyssa Naeher had a clean sheet against Orlando on May 27 and was honored for a milestone after the game. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Alyssa Naeher had a clean sheet against Orlando on May 27 and was honored for a milestone after the game. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Sports Report | Orlando outshoots Chicago 19-2, loses 1-0

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Orlando outshot the Chicago Red Stars 19-2, including a 6-2 disadvantage with shots on goal, during a May 27 visit to SeatGeek Stadium.

That would normally be a recipe for disaster for the home team.

But the Stars defense and goalie Alyssa Naeher withstood the barrage, and the team took advantage of a Yuki Nagasato header in the 22nd minute for a 1-0 victory in an NWSL match in front of an announced crowd of 5,646 in Bridgeview. The attendance was the third-highest at SeatGeek in Red Stars history.

Naeher stopped six shots, with the fifth save making history as the 519th of her career, surpassing Ashlyn Harris for the NWSL’s career mark.

After the game, Naeher was honored for her 150th regular-season NWSL  appearance, which she made May 12 against Racing Louisville. She is the first goalkeeper in league history to play in 150 matches.

“It speaks that I have been doing this a long time,” Naeher said. “I’ve been very fortunate, grateful and blessed to be able to do this for 15 years and that’s what I think those things represent.”

Orlando (3-5-1) came into the game hot. The Pride went 0-4-1 in its first five games, but was 3-1-1 in its last five matches before heading to Chicago.

Naeher helped make sure the Pride stayed off the scoreboard.

“It wasn’t always pretty,” she said. “But to see the way the team battled and fought, we earned the three points big time.”

Red Stars coach Chris Petrucelli had high praise for Naeher.

“She’s been the best goalkeeper in the world for many years,” Petrucelli said. “Right now, she’s playing at an extremely high level. In the two years I’ve been here, she’s been fantastic.

“It’s rare that a goalkeeper wins you games, but we have one that wins games for us. She makes saves that shouldn’t be made. It’s just very comforting to know that she’s in there.”

The Red Stars were slated to play a Challenge Cup game against Racing Louisville on May 31 and return to NWSL action in a rare Monday night game at 9 p.m. at Angel City FC at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

TATUMN MILAZZO scaled

Orland Park native Tatumn Milazzo, a Red Stars defender, helped her team rack up a shutout against Orlando on May 27. Photo by Jeff Vorva

 

Fire back in Bridgeview
For the third time this season, the Chicago Fire will call SeatGeek its home when it hosts the Houston Dynamo at 7 p.m. on June 6 in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Fire plays most of its games at Soldier Field.

Season ticket members will be available to purchase tickets through the Fire’s Members Headquarters page. Tickets are on sale to the general public and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

With tournament pairings determined by a bracket beginning in the Round of 16, the Fire will face a new-look Dynamo team led by Ben Olsen. It will be the first encounter in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup between the two sides, who are two of three previous tournament winners still alive in the 2023 edition of the historic competition, along with the LA Galaxy.

Houston defeated a 10-man Minnesota United FC 4-0 on May 23. Corey Baird scored a hat-trick for the Dynamo at Shell Energy Stadium and set up Aliyu Ibrahim for the fourth goal of the match.

The Fire have won four U.S. Open Cup trophies, winning in 1998, 2000, 2003. Chicago’s four titles are tied with Seattle Sounders FC and Sporting KC for the most championships won by an MLS team, and the second-most in the history of the tournament.

The Fire appeared in the semifinals on 13 occasions, including six times in an eight-year period (2011-2018), tallying a 47-16-7 all-time record in the annual competition.

Interim coach Frank Klopas said that even the tournament does not count in the MLS standing, it’s still important and wants his team to win a fifth title.

 

Fire II loses
The Chicago Fire II dropped a 1-0 decision to Crown Legacy on May 28 at Seat Geek Stadium in an MSL NEXT Pro contest.

Not only did the Fire (2-4-3) lose the game, Harold Osorio had his streak of three games with a goal snapped against Crown Legacy (8-1-1), a team associated with Charlotte.

The Fire II visits Columbus on June 4.

 

Hounds comeback falls short
The Chicago Hounds were down 33-7 to Houston and made an amazing comeback to knot their Major League Rugby game at 33.

But Houston (8-5-0) had the last word in a 40-33 victory over the reeling Hounds (1-12-0) on May 27

The Hounds host the San Diego Legion at 6 p.m. June 3 at SeatGeek Stadium. It is their last home game of their inaugural season.

San Diego won the first meeting, 48-24, on April 16.

ASSIST scaled

Casey Krueger gets ready to feed the ball to Yuki Nagasato for the only score of the game in the Red Stars’ 1-0 win at SeatGeek Stadium. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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