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Ertz scores again in Red Stars shutout of Dash

Julie Ertz, lining up in her third different role in four games this season, scored for the second time to help the Red Stars upend the Dash 2-0 on Saturday in a reversal of the club’s Week 1 encounter. A Sarah Hagen own goal near the end of the opening 45 gifted the Red Stars the halftime lead and Ertz doubled in the 61st minute. The result left bot teams 2-2-0 (6 points) on the season.

Ertz made her third consecutive start in midfield but on this day the former Julie Johnston was in the hole sitting on top of the back four while usual defensive mid Danielle Colaprico was stationed on the left with. It was Colaprico who helped create the own goal.

Colaprico won a foul from Denise O’Sullivan and then lined up to serve in the free kick. She placed it well, to the far post and just about at the top of the six-yard box. Even with no Red Stars within a reasonable distance to play Colaprico’s service, confusion ensued in the box and Hagen went up inadvertently headed the ball into her own goal in the 44th minute.

Defensive issues played a role in Ertz’s goal as well. After Arin Gilliland and Kealia Ohai got caught up in a challenge, Christen Press ounced on the loose ball, easily beat Hagen, and drove a cross into the box from the right side. Nichelle Prince hustled over to deny a clear touch to Colaprico but as Dash players stood and watched, Ertz pounced and scored to make it 2-0.

The Dash’s best chance of the afternoon came on a ball over the top to Prince but Alyssa Naeher was up to the task and made a strong save. The Dash were buoyed by some late energy after Morgan Brian was subbed on for her 2017 debut. Brian had not played since suiting up for the U.S. in the final match of the SheBelieves Cup on March 7. They continued their streak though of following up wins with losses and ended a three-match road swing with 3 points. They’re back in Houston next weekend for the start of a home-and-home against Sky Blue FC.

The Red Stars, on the opposite track as the Dash following up losses with wins, made it two clean sheets at home to open 2017. They are back at Toyota Park next weekend for a Mother’s Day visit from the Boston Breakers.

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