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Katie Johnson scores Red Stars’ first goal of season, but team settles for draw

Johnson subbed in for Mallory Pugh in the 33rd minute.

Ahead of the Red Stars’ match on Wednesday evening against Kansas City, coach Rory Dames spoke about the difference it would make having his entire roster available, and it did.

The Red Stars created more attacking opportunities than in either of their first two matches and found the back of the net, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw against visiting Kansas City.

“I thought we found our way into the game the last eight to nine minutes of the first half and started to find a decent rhythm,” Dames said. “I thought we got put on the back foot again for the first 10 minutes of the second half.”

For the second consecutive game, the Red Stars (0-1-2) opted not to play the national anthem at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

Defensively the Red Stars’ backline looked strong. But Dames said they have to keep their concentration level for the full 90 minutes of play.

Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez put her team ahead in the 79th minute, streaking by Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden and slotting the ball home. Gorden said following the match that it was a miscommunication between herself and Alyssa Naeher that led to that goal.

“It was an easy play and it should have been taken care of,” Gorden said. “It’s still the beginning. It’s the Challenge Cup, a learning lesson and it won’t happen again going forward.”

The Red Stars answered in the 81st minute with the equalizer from Katie Johnson. It was the Red Stars’ first goal of the season. Johnson subbed in for Mallory Pugh in the 33rd minute of play.

Wednesday’s match was Pugh’s first start for Chicago, and Dames said he’s planning on getting her more time in the team’s final match of the Challenge Cup against OL Reign.

Coming off just six days of rest following the team’s match against the Portland Thorns, Dames stressed that his team is physically and mentally tired.

They’re still building minutes for players that will be in the team’s core group. Dames said his use of substitutions through the first three games hasn’t been as much about affecting the outcome of games as it has been about bringing players back to full fitness.