Philly Makes a Sandwich of Chicago Red Stars in WPS

John HowellAnalyst IJuly 29, 2010

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (July 28, 2010) -- We've run out of things to say about the Chicago Red Stars. Much of the optimism and momentum that was generated by the coaching change has worn off by now.

In four days, the Red Stars have gone from being tied with Washington for the final playoff spot, to looking like they've been tied and gagged.

After losing to Boston 3-1 on Sunday at home, the Red Stars lost to Philadelphia Independence 3-0 tonight at John Farrell Stadium.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia's leading goal scorer Amy Rodriguez led the way for the Independence with goals in the 12th and 25th minutes and assisted Caroline Seger's goal in the 56th minute.

The Independence dominated all aspects of the match, out-shooting Chicago, 12-9, and a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Red Stars did not put a shot on goal until the 84th minute when Chicago forward Cristiane took a deep shot and forced Philadelphia goalkeeper Val Henderson to make her first and only save of the match. Henderson's counterpart, Red Stars goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, made two saves.

With the game in hand for the Independence, Philadelphia forward Holmfridur Magnusdottir was issued a red card in second-half stoppage time. She will miss Philadelphia's Aug. 4 match against the Washington Freedom.

Philadelphia takes a 2-0-0 series lead against the Red Stars. The two teams first met on May 15, with the Independence earning a 1-0 victory at Toyota Park.

In their last two games, Chicago's given up as many goals as they had given up in seven games earlier in the season.

They've gone from having an imposing defense with minimal offense to having neither.

The Red Stars' three-game skid is their longest of the season and the longest since Chicago dropped three in a row from July 15-26 during the 2009 season.

So what is it? Is it a mental block? Are they just outclassed, out-coached, out-hustled? And what can they do to turn it around? There are no apparent answers.

Next up for the Red Stars is a 6 p.m. match on Sunday, Aug. 1, against the defending champion Sky Blue FC in Piscataway, N.J. The Red Stars' last win took place against Sky Blue, a 2-0 shutout on July 10 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Chicago falls to 4-8-5 (17 points) and Philadelphia improves to 8-5-3 (27 points).

Chicago Red Stars at Philadelphia Independence
July 28, 2010 -- West Chester, Pa.
Independence 3, Red Stars 0
Red Stars          0    0   -   0
Independence   2    1   -   3

1. PHI - Rodriguez (Lindsey), 12; 2. PHI - Rodriguez (Krzysik), 25; 3. PHI - Seger (Rodriguez), 56.
Red Stars: Loyden (GK), Dalmy, Markgraf, Asante (Masar, 72), Engen, Formiga, Carney (Sitch, 54), Asllani (Spilger, 59), Cristiane, Rapinoe, Nogueira.
Independence: Henderson (GK), Lohman, Falk, Johnson, Lindsey (Senty, 83), Krzysik, Buczkowski, Seger, Rodriguez (Adams, 76), Magnusdottir, Sanderson (DiMartino, 53).

Red Stars 9, Philadelphia 12
Shots on goal: Red Stars 1, Philadelphia 5
Saves: Red Stars 2, Philadelphia 1
Corner kicks: Red Stars 5, Philadelphia 4
Offsides: Red Stars 2, Philadelphia 1
Fouls: Red Stars 5, Philadelphia 8
Cautions and ejections:
PHI - 48th minute, Buczkowski yellow card
CHI - 81st minute, Markgraf yellow card
PHI - 90th minute, Magnusdottir red card
Referee: Daniel Fitzgerald
Assistant referees: Melanie Johnson, Albert Calise
Fourth official: Hakan Baydere