Some Red Stars fans welcome the team's new owners Sept .17 by saying goodbye to some controversial figures in the previous regime. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Pro Soccer Report | New owners watch Red Stars tie in front of record-setting crowd
By Jeff Vorva
The Chicago Red Stars put on quite a show for their new bosses.
It was fun. It was exciting. It had a big crowd and it felt like a big-time atmosphere.
But in the grand scheme of trying to make it to the NWSL playoffs, it didn’t mean much.
The Red Stars tied Angel City, 2-2, on Sept. 7 in front of an announced crowd of 8,961 — the second-largest in club history — at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.
Ava Cook scored in the 68th minute and Cheyna Matthews added another in the 75th minute for the Red Stars (6-10-3). Ali Riley and Jun Endo scored for Angel City (6-6-7)
It was the first home game for the Stars since the sale of the team received the stamp of approval from the NWSL. New owner Laura Ricketts and a group of investors were on hand to see the product that they purchased from Arnim Whisler.
Whisler sold the team after a cloud of controversy regarding allegations that former coach Rory Dames mistreated players and that management turned a blind eye to it.
It’s a new era with Ricketts, and the Stars hope they impressed the new owners.
“I think they were happy with our performance,” said Cook, who scored three goals in two games against Angel City this season. “Obviously we want to win but they were congratulatory of our performance today. I think it excites them to be on board with this. We’ll see where it goes.”
“On the flip side, for us, it’s awesome to have them there at our game,” Matthews said. “We got to meet a lot of them, which was very fun and exciting for us.”
The only down note to the day was that by not winning, the team fall back into last place in the 12-team league with three games left. The Red Stars have 21 points and Washington currently has the final playoff slot with 26 points. The Red Stars can total 30 points by running the short table, but has to leap over five teams to get to that sixth slot.
After taking a week off for international play, the Red Stars host Racing Louisville FC (5-5-9, 24 points) at 7 p.m. Sept. 30.
Gold Cup callups
The Red Stars may be on the lower end of the NWSL standings, but they have six players on the roster who are coveted by their countries for the coming CONCACAF Gold Cup competition.
Three Stars are set to join the U.S. Women’s National Team: defenders Tierna Davidson and Casey Krueger, and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
This is the second call-up this year for both Davidson and Krueger, who both joined the national team for friendly matches against Ireland in April.
This will be the Naeher’s fourth call-up this year, and the first since traveling with the team to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In the World Cup, Naeher was one of four players (joining Julie Ertz, Naomi Girma and Andi Sullivan) to play every minute of the tournament for the United States.
Midfielder Jill Aguilera received a callup from Puerto Rico and will play in a qualifying match against Mexico on Sept. 22. She scored her first goal for Puerto Rico in the 66th minute of her international debut on April 8, 2022. Aguilera has recorded two goals and three starts across five appearances for Puerto Rico, captaining the squad for the first time in a friendly against Mexico in April, 2023.
Forward Cheyna Matthews was selected to join the Jamaican Women’s National Team for the team’s Olympic qualifying matches against Canada Sept. 22 and 26.
The matches will be the first since Jamaica’ history-making 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup run. Prior to 2023, neither the men’s nor the women’s Jamaican National Team squads made it out of the World Cup group stages.
The matches will be interesting because Matthews will be on the other side of the pitch against Stars midfielder Bianca St-Georges, who has been called up to join the Canadian Women’s National Team.
This is the second international call-up for St-Georges this year and the first since February, when she was invited to Canada’s camp prior to the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. She was not selected to be a part of the team’s roster for the tournament.
Tenth tie for Fire II
The Fire II tied Orlando 1-1 in an MLS NEXT Pro game on Sept. 15 at SeatGeek Stadium.
The Fire’s (9-8-10) lone goal came from Sergio Oregal Jr. and Wilfredo Rivera picked up the assist.
The Fire finishes up the regular season visiting Huntsville City FC at 1 p.m. Sept. 24.
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