July 7, 2012
COOLING OFF THE FEVER
Fowlkes goal gives Red Stars a 1-0 win
EVANSTON, Ill. – In a rare break from Chicago’s recent heat-wave, the Red Stars capitalized on their one goal of the match to take a 1-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Fever at Northwestern’s Lakefront Field Saturday night.
On a cool, breezy night the lone goal was scored off a great Chicago team effort that saw several players get a touch on the ball before Lauren Fowlkes put it away in the 66th minute. Forward Ella Masar wass credited with the assist.
Fowlkes had spent much of the match in the center-back position before a switch in the second half that moved her to her more common forward position. It was a change that paid off for the Red Stars, with the game-winning goal, her team-leading 7th of the season.
With Philly’s heavy defensive stance, it looked like the Red Stars might have to settle for a tie, in spite of controlling a sold portion of the game’s possession. Early in the match Red Stars’ forward Lindsay Schwartz received a through-ball on the right side but her shot leapt just over the crossbar in the 16th minute. She got another look 10 minutes later from a Lori Chalupny through-pass, but again the shot went just wide.
Just before halftime, substitute Ella Masar surprised the crowd with a quick turn from just inside half-field and launched a long range shot that dipped against the wind and landed just inches over the cross bar, past Philly goalkeeper Michelle Dalton’s outstretched hand.
The Red Stars broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with a sequence of passes culminating in Fowlkes’ goal from close range. The ball was initially played out to Chalupny on the left side of the goal near the end line and she played a low ball in that Masar flicked toward Fowlkes. Fowlkes played the ball low into the right corner, past the outstretched arms of Dalton.
A few minutes later it looked as if the Red Stars’ outside backs would get in on the action when defender Michelle Wenino played a long cross from the left side of the field into the path of flying right defender Mary Therese McDonnell. McDonnell would connect on the header, but her shot tipped off the top of the crossbar.
“We got the 3 points tonight and that is important,” said Red Stars’ midfielder Jen Buczkowski. “We could have been better in the final third and our speed of play, but overall it was a solid performance. We will continue to build for the final push over these next three weeks.”
It was the Red Stars second victory over the Fever this year, following a 4-1 victory in Philly on June 24th. The Red Stars remain tied for 1st place in WPSL Elite league with the Boston Breakers, who had 1 win and 1 loss this weekend. Chicago has a game in hand on Boston and will look to take over sole possession of 1st place over the final 3 games of the season.
The Red Stars are hosting WNY Flash next Saturday, July 14th, at 7pm at Benedictine University in Lisle for their final home match of the season.