Despite combining for four goals in a span of eight minutes span in the first half, it was a Christen Press goal in stoppage time that gave the Chicago Red Stars a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Reign at the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Stadium.
Meeting for the first time in the Windy City since Chicago ended the Reign’s 16-match unbeaten streak last season, Chicago was able to shake off a slow start and use their counterattacking speed to produce three goals against the Reign. The game-winning goal would come much like their first two, a combination of clearing the ball and speed provided by Press.
With the Reign looking for a potential winner themselves, the Red Stars defense stopped a cross on the edge of the box and pushed the ball forward to Jen Hoy. Hoy quickly tapped a volley forward and allowed Press use her speed to run down the ball and fire a shot from 18-yards out past Hope Solo.
After not seeing any goals in the opening 30 minutes, the two teams came alive with four goals in eight minutes. The opening goal came from the visitors who converted on their third corner kick of the first half. Megan Rapinoe’s cross found Beverly Yanez on the far post in the 31st minute to give the Reign a 1-0 lead.
That lead would last for just 58 seconds as Press tied the score at 1 in the 32nd minute. After a poor clearance by the Reign, defender Julie Johnston fired the ball forward where Press beat Stephanie Cox to the ball and scored from 22 yards out.
Chicago kept up the offense and tooks its first lead on another creative play. With momentum on their side, Taryn Hemmings crossed the ball into the Reign box and connected with Press. The U.S. National team member played it across the front of the goal for Hoy to tap past Solo for the 2-1 Red Stars lead.
The offensive explosion continued once again on a Seattle corner. After Rapinoe’s cross was blocked by the Chicago back line, Kim Little took possession and quickly crossed the ball back into the box. Both Chicago keeper Karina LeBlanc and Johnson missed the pass leaving Seattle’s Kendall Fletcher unmarked for a header in front of goal and gave the North Carolina alum her first goal of the season.
NEXT UP: Seattle will continue their two-game road trip with a rematch of the 2014 NWSL Championship against FC Kansas City on Thursday, April 23. Chicago will stay at home for the second of four straight home matches to begin the season, playing host to the Portland Thorns on Saturday, April 25.