PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Chicago Red Stars will be changing their nickname to the Chicago "Cats" as they seem to have the feline attribute of nine lives. They must have died and resuscitated at least nine times already this season. The last resurrection is the most dramatic, having managed to lose three in a row, only to find a way to land on both feet with a 2-1 victory over the defending champions. Thus, ending up landing in sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot, at least until the next game.
With even more felicity, Chicago displaced their opponents in that fourth place with the win in the losers' lair at Yurcak Field.
Even more encouraging for Chicago fans, the Red Stars have already matches their 2009 totals for wins (5) and points (20), improving to 5-8-5 on the season.
To earn the victory, Karen Carney had a goal and assist, and Ella Masar tallied her team-leading fifth goal to lead the way for Chicago.
New Jersey could not capitalize on the return of their starting goalkeeper, Jenni Branum who made her first regular season appearance after fracturing her right patella in the final pre-season match.
Chicago forward Ella Masar ruined Branum's homecoming in the 4th minute. Masar chipped the ball over Branam, assisted, by Karen Carney.
Chicago padded its lead to 2-0 in the 60th minute when Carney capitalized on a Marian Dalmy through ball. It was Carney's first goal of the season. Carney and Dalmy lead the Red Stars with three assists a piece.
New Jersey's Brittany Taylor netted a goal in second-half stoppage time, but the Red Stars held on for the victory.
The Red Stars improved to 5-0-0 this season when scoring the game's first goal.
Red Stars goalkeeper Jillian Loyden made two saves and Branam made four saves for New Jersey.
In the loss, Sky Blue falls to 5-8-3, extending their own losing streak to four matches.
Next up for the Red Stars is a 9 p.m. match on Saturday, Aug. 7, against four-time FIFA Women's Player of the Year Marta and FC Gold Pride in Hayward, Calif. The match wraps up Chicago's three-game road trip, which started with a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Independence on July 28.
Chicago Red Stars (5-8-5) at Sky Blue FC (5-8-3)
August 1, 2010 -- Piscataway, N.J.
Red Stars 2, Sky Blue 1
Red Stars 1 1 - 2
Sky Blue 0 1 - 1
1. CHI - Masar 5 (Carney 3), 4; 2. CHI - Carney 1 (Dalmy 3), 63; 3. NJ - Taylor (Kai), 90.
Red Stars: Loyden (GK), Dalmy, Markgraf, Spilger, Engen, Formiga (Sitch, 62), Chapman, Carney, Rapinoe, Masar (Washington, 69), Cristiane (Nogueira, 79).
Sky Blue: Branam (GK), Rampone, Fletcher (Kai, 73), Dowling, Koster, Taylor, Rosana (Averbuch, 46), White (Panico, 85), Schnur, O'Reilly, Kalmari.
Shots: Red Stars 8, Sky Blue 11
Shots on goal: Red Stars 6, Sky Blue 3
Saves: Red Stars 2, Sky Blue 4
Corner kicks: Red Stars 2, Sky Blue 8
Offsides: Red Stars 4, Sky Blue 8
Fouls: Red Stars 7, Sky Blue 6
Cautions and ejections:
Referee: Daniel Radford
Assistant referees: Mike Kampmeinert, Ryan Dos Reis
Fourth official: Hakan Baydere