Despite record, Red Stars pleased with start

John D Halloran May 4, 2017 21
Rory Dames's Red Stars have lost two of their first three. But the coach says they're right on schedule.

Rory Dames’s Red Stars have lost two of their first three. But the coach says they’re right on schedule.

Looking at the National Women’s Soccer League table heading into Week 4, it would be tough to tell that many pundits tagged the Chicago Red Stars as the preseason favorites to win the league.

After all, three games into the season, the Red Stars sit in seventh place with a 1-2-0 record and only three points to their name.

However, head coach Rory Dames insists his team is exactly where he thought it would be at this early stage of the season and has pointed to a series of unique circumstances to explain Chicago’s slow start.

In Houston for their opening match, the Red Stars dealt with 80-degree temperatures after a preseason spent in Chicago’s cold spring, and despite controlling long stretches of the match, faded in the heat and eventually lost 2-0.

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After a win at home against Kansas City in their second contest, Chicago then went on the road again and lost a tough 1-0 match in Week 3 to Portland. The Thorns’ lone goal in the contest came on a penalty when Christen Press was called for a handball in the area. Dames thought the decision particularly harsh considering no call was given just moments earlier when Thorns’ goalkeeper Adrianna Franch appeared to take Press out on the other end of the pitch.

“I don’t think Christen could have gotten [her hand] out of the way of the ball. I think you can make an argument for and against giving that penalty kick, but if you give that, you have to give the one where Christen got wrapped up [by Franch] three minutes earlier,” the coach told The Equalizer. “There has to be some sort of consistency.”

Dames also praised his side’s effort in the contest and explained that Chicago is creating chances, just not finishing them.

“We’re just not ruthless enough around the other team’s goal yet,” said the coach. “We’re not where we need to be, but we’ll get there.”

Dames added that the Red Stars just need a little more patience and composure in the final third and that the team appears driven in training this week.

“The response of the group has been great. They’re more motivated now to get back on the field.”

After the team’s Week 1 loss to Houston, Chicago readjusted its lineup, pushing Julie Ertz out of the backline and into the attacking center midfield position. The move paid dividends against FC Kansas City with Ertz scoring the lone goal in the contest. However, that also forced Dames to drop a forward as Press vacated the No. 10 position and resumed her normal duties up top. Against both Kansas City and Portland, the coach paired Press with veteran Jen Hoy and dropped Stephanie McCaffrey to the bench.

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Dames pointed to Hoy’s sharpness in training, her passing and her on-field connection with Press in choosing her over McCaffrey. “When Jen’s in-form and dynamic, she’s a great pairing with Christen and they’re obviously the most familiar with each other,” said Dames.

Despite Chicago’s slow start, the new center back pairing of Katie Naughton and Sam Johnson has proved to be an early bright spot for the Red Stars. With Ertz pushed into the midfield, Dames has called on Naughton to fill the void and the Johnson-Naughton combination has now gone two straight games without giving up a goal in the run of play.

The coach emphasized Johnson’s development this season as key to the team’s defensive stoutness.

“Without question, this is the best Sam’s played since we’ve had her and [she’s] playing with more confidence and a little bit of a chip on her shoulder to prove some people wrong.”

Johnson did pickup a knock against the Thorns, forcing the Red Stars to sub her out of the contest in the second half. Dames said it’s “50-50” whether or not she’ll play this weekend against Houston, a rematch of their opening day game.

The match is Lifetime’s Game of the Week with kickoff on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

  • smallchief

    One measly goal in three matches and Dames is satisfied?

    Despite its offensive firepower, Chicago’s offense was anemic last year and has continued that way this year.

    I like Julie Ertz in the midfield. Press? I don’t know.about her. It seems that when the going gets tough, Press doesn’t get going. Style points don’t go on the scoreboard. If she is ever going to excel, it’s time for her to do so.

    Hoy and McCaffrey are pretty decent forwards — but I would focus my offense on Press, Huerta, and Ertz — your three best offensive players. Ertz and Huerta give you strength and toughness that might liberate Press to use her finesse more effectively.

    • Terry Lash

      In both Sweden and the USA Press has proved she is an excellent goal scorer at the club level, notwithstanding a slow start this season, but she has been a huge disappointment on the WNT. Did Jill Ellis undermine her confidence?

      • Reality

        Ellis has jerked a number of players around by not utilizing them appropriately. Press is certainly high on that list of misutilization by Ellis. Despite this, she has still scored 41 goals in 85 appearances for the NT. Since Ellis seldom starts or properly utilizes her in the few important games that the USWNT plays, it is quite conceivable that this has affected her confidence. Press is a natural forward with great success in that capacity at whatever club she has played on. But Ellis doesn’t seem to remember or care for reasons that have been exhaustively discussed.

        • HOFCToDi

          Christen Press
          2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
          16 Jun 2015
          USA 1 NGA 0
          Minutes Played 0

          resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/00/60/eng_31_0616_nga-usa_fulltime.pdf

          Christen Press was BENCHED!

          Christen Press
          2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
          30 Jun 2015
          USA 2 GER 0
          Minutes Played 0

          resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/52/49/eng_49_0630_usa-ger_fulltime.pdf

          Christen Press was BENCHED!

          Christen Press
          2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
          05 Jul 2015
          USA 5 JPN 2
          Minutes Played 0

          resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/66/12/93/eng_52_0705_usa-jpn_fulltime.pdf

          Christen Press was BENCHED!

          Christen Press
          International Women’s Friendly
          21 Oct 2015
          USA 1 BRA 1
          Minutes Played 0

          foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24140

          Christen Press was BENCHED!

          Christen Press
          International Women’s Friendly
          25 Oct 2015
          USA 3 BRA 1
          Minutes Played 0

          foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24141

          Christen Press was BENCHED!

          Nevermind Christen Press started eleven of the first twelve matches for the USWNT in calendar year 2015.

          ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2015-lineups

          http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

        • HOFCToDi

          Sunday, 21 Feb 2016
          TSG announces CWOQ Best XI, Awards

          concacaf.com/article/tsg-announces-cwoq-best-xi-awards

          ussoccer.com/~/media/images/wnt/gallery-images/2016/02/160221-wnt-v-can/photo-gallery/160221-wnt-vs-can-photo-gallery19.jpg?h=600&w=786&la=en&hash=BF5ABEEA5BE7034EF13FA4F320F9E7BB8E549331&amp

          By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

        • HOFCToDi

          Friday, 11 Mar 2016
          Morgan, Solo and the USA Sweep Awards at 2016 SBC

          ussoccer.com/stories/2016/03/11/13/17/160311-wnt-morgan-solo-and-the-usa-sweep-awards-at-2016-shebelieves-cup

          ussoccer.com/~/media/images/wnt/gallery-images/2016/03/160309-wnt-v-ger/160309-wnt-vs-ger-gallery20.jpg?h=559&w=800&la=en&hash=B1A7B6E0C01C796F4C31CF422F0CC370A4D5CF89&amp

          By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

        • HOFCToDi

          Christen Press
          09 Aug 2016
          2016 Rio Olympics
          USA 2 COL 2
          Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 4, Shots on Goal 1
          Penalty Kicks Attempted 0, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

          Christen Press
          12 Aug 2016
          2016 Rio Olympics
          USA 1 SWE 1
          Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 2, Shots on Goal 0
          Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

          Christen Press
          August 2016
          2016 Rio Olympics
          Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 6, Shots on Goal 1
          Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82m0nF66dFo

        • HOFCToDi

          Christen Press was even worse at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games than at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

          Christen Press
          2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
          Goals 1, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 7, Shots on Goal 2
          Penalty Kicks Attempted 0, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

          Christen Press
          2016 Summer Olympic Games
          Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 6, Shots on Goal 1
          Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

          http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

        • HOFCToDi

          Calendar Year 2016
          FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents
          USWNT Goals Scored
          Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 6
          Lloyd (DOB 16 Jul 1982) – 1
          Horan (DOB 26 May 1994) – 1
          Johnston (DOB 06 Apr 1992) – 1
          Dunn (DOB 03 Jul 1992) – 1
          Mewis (DOB 09 Oct 1992) – 1

          By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

          ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2016-lineups

          http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

        • HOFCToDi

          USWNT 2013-2016
          FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents
          USWNT Goals Scored
          Morgan – 16 (too many to list)
          Lloyd – 8 (AUS, BRA, GER, JPN x 3, BRA, FRA)
          Leroux – 7 (CAN, BRA x 2, CAN, JPN, CAN, FRA)
          Wambach – 5 (GER, AUS, BRA, PRK x 2)
          Rapinoe – 4 (GER, BRA, AUS x 2)
          Press – 3 (AUS, FRA, AUS)
          Holiday – 2 (AUS, JPN)
          Johnston – 2 (FRA, JPN)
          Dunn – 2 (BRA, ENG)

        • HOFCToDi

          #ChristenChasingObscurity

          USWNT Career
          FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents
          USWNT Goals Scored
          Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 34
          Leroux (DOB 07 May 1990) – 8
          Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988) – 3

          Christen Press is the quintessential international FRAUD.

          4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
          85 caps
          2 head coaches

          Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

          garbage time
          prima donna
          selfish shot hog
          tomato cans

        • HOFCToDi

          #ChristenChasingObscurity

          US Soccer Female Player of the Year

          http://www.ussoccer.com/about/history/awards/player-of-the-year

          The U.S. Soccer Player of the Year award is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States.

          By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

          http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

        • HOFCToDi

          2008 Goal of the Year declared

          http://www.fifa.com/theclub/news/newsid=999807/index.html

          USA striker Alex Morgan’s 42nd-minute winner against Korea in the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Chile 2008 is rated as the second best goal of the year. Morgan walked away with the Adidas Silver Ball and Bronze Shoe awards for her four goals and stellar performance at the tournament.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PacY7Enz9hQ

          By the way, that’s not Christen Press.

      • AlexH

        I would hope that a pro athletes confidence would be tough enough to withstand the moods of Jill Ellis. I think Jill Ellis has shown great confidence in Press by giving her a ton of caps and naming her to the Olympic and World Cup squad.

        • Reality

          Ellis has recognized that Press is so good that she must be utilized in some fashion. But this tactic has been not only detrimental to Press’s production and confidence, but also has deprived the team of a valuable resource at forward over time instead of the washed-up Wambach and now the inconsistent and elderly Lloyd.

          • guest123

            That’s Press’ problem. She’s been given tons of starts at forward, including over Lloyd and Wambach over the years. She hasn’t made her mark in a big tournament but she only has herself to blame.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press was even worse at the international women’s friendlies against Russia than at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            Goals 1, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 7, Shots on Goal 2

            Christen Press
            6 Apr 2017
            International Women’s Friendly
            USA 4 RUS 0
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 5, Shots on Goal 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=34687

            Christen Press
            9 Apr 2017
            International Women’s Friendly
            USA 5 RUS 1
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 2, Shots on Goal 1

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=34688

            Christen Press
            April 2017
            International Women’s Friendlies
            USA vs RUS
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 7, Shots on Goal 1

            http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

      • guest

        She needs a team that is built around her. She shines when she is the goalscorer and the coach tells the team to get her the ball. Of course on the USWNT surrounded by other proven scorers like Dunn, Morgan, Lloyd, etc., she isn’t going to be gifted that role.

  • AlexH

    CRS has won at home and played tough on the road. It is a good start IF club Press shows up to play, but a portent of doom if national team Press shows up to play.