July 24, 2012
LOOKING FOR A DOUBLE
Red Stars want league title too
On the heels of the team’s first ever USASA National Cup title this past weekend, the Chicago Red Stars have the opportunity for a rare ‘double’ in women’s soccer when they head to the WPSL Elite Championships beginning Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, NY, home to the WNY Flash.
The Red Stars spent much of the season leading the league in 1st place but, with a challenging end-of-year schedule, finished the season at 9-4-1, which was good for 4th place. The gap between the top four teams was extremely small and the final standings took until the very last day of regular season match-ups to shake out. The Red Stars were in Long Island Sunday night taking on NY Fury, with a final 1-1 tie. Boston Breakers slipped past WNY Flash 1-0 Sunday taking the regular season title.
“We are excited to be one of the final 4 teams,” said Red Stars’ midfield stalwart Jen Buczkowski. “I think both games will be exciting and at this point it is just one game at a time.”
Chicago vs. Boston tomorrow night will be a supreme match-up, with the teams splitting their regular season series 1 and 1. Chicago gave Boston their first loss of the season back on June 3rd in Naperville when Michele Weissenhofer scored the lone goal of the game in the first half. When the teams met-up again on June 30th in Boston, it looked as if the game would end in a drag-out scoreless tie. That is until the 90th + waning moments of the match when Kyah Simon slid after a ball and gave the Breakers a shocking 1-0 last minute victory.
Boston ended the season top of the charts with an 11-3 record, and boast one of the league’s leading scorers in the young Australian forward Simon, who tallied 12 goals this season, along with 2 assists. Only WNY Flash’s Adriana has scored more with 13 total. Breakers’ Katie Schoepfer also has 7 goals of her own, along with a team-high 6 assists.
The Red Stars have had a well-rounded scoring effort this season, led by Lauren Fowlkes with 7 goals and an assist. The versatile player began the season as a forward but has been called upon to also anchor the Red Stars’ back line on occasion. Team captain and midfielder Lori Chalupny, also team captain of the 2008 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team, has 5 goals and a team-high 4 assists, while another forward, Michele Weissenhofer, also has 5 goals on the year. Red Stars’ defense has been stingy this year as well, only allowing 10 goals on the season, while goalkeeper Jamie Forbes has earned herself 6 shutouts.
“It doesn’t matter who beat who in the regular season, it’s about winning one game right now,” went on Buczkowski. “We’re hoping to end the season accomplishing the goal we set back in May.”
The first game of the night Wednesday will see home side WNY Flash take on NY Fury at 5pm ET. The Red Stars will meet the Breakers at 8pm ET.