Julie Ertz leads Chicago Red Stars 1-0 against FC Kansas City

The Chicago Red Stars host their first season match against FC Kansas City.

Julie Ertz leads Chicago Red Stars 1-0 against FC Kansas City
The Chicago red Stars celebrating Julie Ertz's game-winning goal | Source: Matt Marzahl
Chicago Red Stars
1 0
FC Kansas City
Chicago Red Stars: Press, Hoy (McCaffrey, min. 71), Dibernardo, Huerta (Mautz, min. 87), Colaprico, Ertz, Short, Johnson, Naughton, Gilliland, Naeher
FC Kansas City: Leroux (Kelly, min 73), Newfield (Tymrak, min. 57), Groom, Bowen, Moros (Flynn, min. 58), Labonta, Taylor, Gibbons, Averbuch, Sauerbrunn, Barnhart
SCORE: 1-0, min. 40, Ertz.

The Chicago Red Stars hosted their first home opener of the season at Toyota Park where they faced their rivals FC Kansas City. Last season, Chicago had one home lost for the season, which was against FCKC.

Nicole Barnhart blocking shots from Chicago 

Chicago came out strong attacking, but didn't have any successful shots. By the 21st minute of the game, both teams had an equal amount of two shots on goal.

Forward Christen Press had several goal opportunities throughout this game and early on in the 23rd minute, she took a shot from the center of the field that rose fans to excitement as the ball was just too high over from the goalpost.

Casey Short had a strong touch on the ball and Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made a nice save with her right hand, which was then cleared by defender Christina Gibbons.

Another shot was taken on the Kansas City goal by Sofia Huerta as Julie Ertz assisted, but nothing was able to reach the back of the net. Barnhart was on top of the Chicago offense and attentive when the ball came her way, this game marked her 75th appearance for FCKC.

Halftime was nearly approaching and the score was still 0-0 in the 40th minute. This time Huerta crossed to the center of the field and Ertz finished nicely with her right foot and scored for Chicago, who were now in the lead 1-0.

Chicago native Vanessa Dibernardo, who was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft | Source: NWSL
Chicago native Vanessa Dibernardo, who was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft | Source: NWSL

Red Stars still attacking, Kansas City looking to score

Within several minutes of the second half, Ertz had a collision with Gibbons in the box. A penalty kick was given for Chicago and Press went forward to take the kick. She went towards the right side of the net and misses. Even in her footwork that led up to her shot, she seemed unsure of her ball placement and may have been overthinking the shot.

Ertz was placed in an attacking midfield position during this game, which isn't her normal defense position, but it seemed to work for her as she not only scored, but had many successful opportunities. Ertz had only trained with the Red Stars for three days as she was on her honeymoon, but came back confident and also had a second goal opportunity in the 55th minute.

Another opportunity for Press occurred in the 65th minute when she had received a nice ball up the right side of the field and even outran goalkeeper Barnhart and had no defenders directly in front of her. The goal was wide open and her shot hit the goalpost. This was the third missed goal by Press.

Turning tables

Last week, the Chicago Red Stars had a 2-0 loss against the Houston Dash, who stand in first place while Chicago is underneath them in second place. On the other side, Kansas City had a 2-0 win as they competed against the Boston Breakers. In today's match, Chicago dominated by one goal as Kansas City wasn't able to score at all. 

Pulling Ertz up into as an attacking midfield seemed to work as she and Huerta collaborated well with several shots and of course the game wining goal.

The numerous opportunities that weren't fulfilled by Press were a letdown in this game as the ball was set in place for her to score and after outrunning the Kansas City defense with a wide open goal, she still didn't see the back of the net.

Overall in this match, Chicago dominated in the amount of shots taken as they had a total of 25 and Kansas City remained with 15.

Looking Ahead

Next Saturday the Chicago Red Stars will face the Portland Thorns at 4:00pm EST. Following that match on Sunday evening, FC Kansas City will compete against Sky Blue FC at 6:00pm EST

NWSL