Even with key players out, Red Stars’ unbeaten streak continues


CHICAGO – They’ve dealt with a number of players who are injured, a few who are on maternity leave, while others are in and out of the lineup due to national team commitments.

It’s forced a lot of young players to enter the lineup for a club that features a first year manager, yet no matter the change, the results keep coming for the Chicago Red Stars.

Entering their match on Sunday afternoon against the North Carolina Courage at 5 PM at SeatGeek Stadium, the club is on an eight-match unbeaten streak. Thanks to the stretch, the club is in second place in the NWSL with 19 points, two behind league-leading San Diego Wave FC.

“It’s a deep roster and a lot of good players,” said manager Chris Petrucelli of the team’s success despite the lineup shuffling. “The team as a whole has adopted the philosophy of what’s doing what’s best for the team and that means sometimes it might be their day and sometimes it might not, but when they’ve been called upon, they’ve all stepped up and done well.

“I think it’s got a lot to do with a lot of talented players who have the right attitude and are team first people.”

This was the case last week in their win over New Jersey-New York Gotham FC, when a number of players were on the sidelines yet the group found a way to get three points. Tierna Davidson and Kayla Sharples’ ACL injuries have put them out for the season while four players – Alyssa Naeher, Mallory Pugh, Chelsea Dawber, and Bianca St.-Georges – were on national team duty.

Morgan Gautrat remains out with a left calf injury while Sarah Woldmoe, Kealia Watt, and Casey Krueger remain on maternity league. Krueger announced the birth of her son, Caleb John, on Saturday.

Yet the Red Stars, using a lineup that’s a mix of veterans and young players just joing the club, beat NJNY Gotham FC 3-0 to pick up the victory.

“I think just being able to play at the level and what they’ve done to be able to play in their first season. To be thrown in, it takes a lot of getting used to and it can be uncomfortable but I think the transition into this league and taking the opportunities they’ve been given, I think it’s a testament of what kind of players they are,” said forward Ella Stevens, who scored the final goal in the win over NJ/NY Gotham FC. “It’s helped our team as a whole a lot.”

They same players will be out for Sunday’s match against North Carolina as the Red Stars look to run their unbeaten streak to nine matches.

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