July 25, 2012
IN THE FINAL
Red Stars breeze past Breakers 3-1
ROCHESTER, NY– The Chicago Red Stars earned a commanding 3-1 win over the Boston Breakers in the WPSL Elite Semifinals at Sahlen’s Stadium Wednesday night.
The Red Stars were led by captain Lori Chalupny and forward Ella Masar who each had a goal and an assist. Lauren Fowlkes added another goal, and Julianne Sitch had an assist. Breakers’ substitute Amanda DaCosta scored their lone goal, unassisted.
“Tonight’s win was a great team win,” said Red Stars’ defender Jackie Santacaterina. “We had a game plan, were able to follow through with it and we found success.”
It seemed part of the game plan was to put high, and constant pressure, on the Breakers right from the start. The Red Stars came out dominating much of the first half, in spite of numerous shots , were only able to muster one goal before the break. It came early, in the 13th minute, when midfielder Lori Chalupny sent a long corner kick to the back post that only had to be nudged into the goal by defender Fowlkes. Both players are leading the team with 17 points each on the year.
While most expected the Breakers to come out re-energized to start the second half, it would be the Red Stars again that would strike just one minute back into play when Chalupny received a short pass from a streaking Masar. It looked like Chalupny might not be able to control the ball, which she nearly ran right past, but somehow got her feet under her and blasted the ball into the left side of the net to take the Red Stars up 2-0 in the 46th minute.
With the Breakers still looking out of their rhythm, the Red Stars added one more security goal in the 66th minute. Sitch got herself free on the right side of the field and sent in a high cross. The Breakers were able to reach the ball first, but sent it right back to the feet of Sitch. This time she drove a pass low, directly to Masar, who had no problem finishing on her first tally of the season.
The Breakers snuck a goal back in the 80th minute when the Red Stars were unable to clear their corner kick. The ball bounced backwards to the right side of the goal, where Amanda DaCosta was waiting. She touched a light lobbed ball that drifted just over Forbes’ head and into the net, keeping the Red Stars from a clean sheet and giving the Breakers hope in the waning minutes of the match.
“We had a good performance tonight,” said midfielder Jen Buczkowski. “We were able to play through them and also get behind their back line with pace. I think Saturday will be a great game. The Flash is the only team that beat us twice in the regular season so playing them is something we are looking forward to.”
“I am really proud of our effort tonight,” said Chalupny. “Things were clicking for us. Our energy and movement off the ball was great.”
“But that game is behind us. Now our focus is on putting together a great performance against the Flash in the championship.”
The Red Stars are seeking a rare ‘double’ in women’s soccer, having already won the United States Adult Soccer Association’s Women’s Amateur National Cup this past Sunday. It was the team’s first entry into the National Cup in their 4-year history. This weekend will be their second trip to a league national championship. The Red Stars were members of WPSL in 2011 and succeeded in making it all the way to the final, which was hosted in Chicago. They lost in overtime to the Orange County Waves .
The WPSL Elite Championship will take place at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester on Saturday, July 28th, at Noon CT/ 1PM ET.