Chicago Red Stars rookie Jenna Bike executes a header against Racing Louisville on May 31. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Pro Sports Report | Louisville blanks Red Stars
By Jeff Vorva
It worked once.
But not a second time.
The tightrope can only stretch so far.
The offensively struggling Chicago Red Stars may have been able to buck the odds when they were severely outshot in an NWSL game win over Orlando on May 27, but that approach was not fruitful May 31 during a Challenge Cup match at Seat Geek Stadium.
Racing Louisville outshot the Red Stars 17-7, including 4-1 shots on target, in a 2-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,762.
That comes on the heels of the Red Stars’ 1-0 victory over Orlando, a game in which they were outshot 19-2 and 6-2 on target but enjoyed a stellar performance from world-class goalie Alyssa Naeher.
“We barely connected with a pass in the first half,” Petrucelli said of the Louisville game. “And when we did, it was backwards. We just didn’t have the ball enough. It put us in a position where we were defending a lot.
“We have to get batter at that. We’re not built to be a team that can just kick it and run after it. I believe if we tried, it would not work out that well for us. We have to be able to put some things together.”
The Red Stars (0-2-0 in Challenge Cup play) were scheduled to get back into NWSL action June 5 at Angel City and have a 7 p.m. match June 10 scheduled against North Carolina.
Defender Kayla Sharples made her 2023 debut late in the Louisville match after missing a chunk of the 2022 campaign with an ACL injury.
“We’re happy to see her and happy to have her back,” Pretrucelli said. “Everybody is happy to see her get a chance to go back on the field. We witnessed the work that she has put in.
“Her work is not done yet. She still has more where she can get to a point where she can play more minutes and knock the rust off. But it is nice to see a player like that get rewarded for all the hard work.”
Fire II dominates
The Chicago Fire II scored the first four goals of the game and hung on to beat Columbus, 4-2, on the road June 4 in MLS NEXT Pro action.
Harold Osorio, who had a three-game goal streak snapped on May 28 against Crown Legacy, had three assists. Richard Fleming III, Billy Hency, Justin Reynolds and Luke Prpa scored goals for the Fire II (3-5-3).
The Fire II visits New England (7-3-1) at 7 p.m. June 11.
Hounds drop final home match
The Chicago Hounds closed the home portion of its historic inaugural season by losing 36-14 to San Diego in a Major League Rugby battle on June 3 at SeatGeek Stadium.
The Hounds (1-13-0) close out the season at Utah on June 10 and at Dallas on June 17.
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