Red Stars still in search of goal scorer following ‘disappointing’ loss to Racing Louisville

Eight games into the regular season that followed the Challenge Cup tournament, the Red Stars (2-4-2) are still struggling to find consistency.

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Severe storms swept through the Chicago area on Saturday afternoon ahead of the Red Stars 3-0 loss to Racing Louisville FC at SeatGeek Stadium. Aside from a brief spot of sunshine, the rain didn’t let up.

At one point it came down so hard it looked like as if the players were challenged to see clearly. Field conditions were affected so significantly that players found themselves sliding across the pitch on what otherwise would have been routine plays.

Operations staff assessed the field at the half, attempting to determine what sections of the field were waterlogged. Ultimately, a full 90-minute game was finished and the Red Stars were once again outplayed.

Eight games into the regular season that followed the Challenge Cup tournament, the Red Stars (2-4-2) have struggled to find consistency.

“For sure [this was] the most disappointing loss in my time with the club,” coach Rory Dames said. “So where do we go from here? I don’t think it’s a secret we don’t have an out-and-out goal scorer. We’ll continue to search for one.”

Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill made their returns to Chicago for the first time since being traded to the Louisville team in exchange for full roster protection in the 2020 expansion draft.

They received a warm welcome from the 2,626 fans that waited out a rain delay of nearly three hours, and each left with a goal. Dames said it was poetic justice. The game, originally slated to begin at

1 p.m., was postponed until 3:30 after a tornado warning was issued and a severe thunderstorm moved through the area. The rain picked back up shortly after the game’s 3:30 start time.

“We had to play a little different,” Vanessa DiBernardo said. “Play a little bit more safe.”

Defender Casey Krueger said she was worried about slipping but it was unavoidable despite wearing studs in her shoes.

The first goal came from Ebony Salmon on a right-footed shot inside the box in the 38th minute off an assist from Cecelia Kizer. It was a result of poor transition defense from the Red Stars.

The hosts came out in the second half with a different level of intensity, but it was quickly stifled after Danny Colaprico was shown her second yellow card and subsequent red card leading to her removal from the game. The Red Stars finished the match with 10 players and Louisville capitalized.

Nagasato’s left-footed goal came in the 56th minute. She was given a free kick after Colaprico’s red card. McCaskill scored Louisville’s final goal six minutes later from nearly the same corner of the box from which Nagasato scored.

The Red Stars outshot Racing Louisville 17-11 but had only three shots on goal and eight shots blocked. They controlled 50.4% of the possessions.

With this loss, the Red Stars move to seventh place in NWSL standings. It was their last match before Alyssa Naeher, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz and Krueger leave for the Olympic Send-Off Series on July 1 and 5 in East Hartford, Connecticut. The team’s next match is Friday on the road against the Washington Spirit.

“One of our strengths is the depth of our roster,” DiBernardo said. “During these next few weeks while we have these key players gone that’s what we need to show. We’re capable of changing our season. These next few weeks are going to be huge for us.”

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