The Red Stars answered Saturday victories by the Spirit and Reign to move back atop the NWSL table with a decisive, 3-0 victory over Sky Blue FC on Sunday evening at Yurcak Field. Vanessa DiBernardo, Jen Hoy, and and Alyssa Mautz tallied for the Red Stars and goal-scoring extraordinaire Sofia Huerta chipped in two assists. The loss keeps Sky Blue winless since their season opener and means they have played he first half of the season without scoring twice in a match.
It did not take long for the Red Stars to put their stamp on the match. Danielle Colaprico won the ball off Taylor Lytle in midfield in the 6th minute and found Huerta wide left. Huerta made short work of Kristin Grubka before finding a seam to find DiBernardo completely unmarked in the center of the box. The shot was an easy won to an open side of the goal unguarded by Brittany Cameron.
Sky Blue actually got their teeth into the game after that and nearly leveled it when Katy Freels took a loose ball and smashed it off the crossbar. Lytle later had a chance just after a half hour that rolled inches wide. But just as Sky Blue were starting to find something another defensive breakdown saw them fall behind by two.
In the 34th minute Rachel Quon did the ball winning and sent it ahead for Huerta. Sky Blue’s center backs both converged on Huerta but allowed her enough space to unload the ball to Hoy who had no defender in her vicinity and had no more than a simple redirection.
Sky Blue’s struggling forward Nadia Nadim had her best chance in weeks right after halftime but Red Stars goalkeeper Michele Dalton rose to the challenge to make a point-blank save and keep it 2-0.
The Red Stars put Sky Blue out of their misery in the 62nd minute. Dalton booted it to midfield where the second ball was won ahead to Hoy. Lindsi Cutshall positioned herself to keep Hoy from attacking the goal but no one picked up Mautz and Hoy was able to send an easy ball up to her at the top of the box. Even within 20 yards of goal Mautz had enough time and space to take a touch before placing her shot perfectly inside the left post.
Nadim nearly brought a shred of redemption to the performance with a circus shot off a late corner kick but the best she could do with it was whack it off the crossbar.
The Red Stars (5-1-3, 18 pts) are back to leading the Spirit and Reign by a point with a five-point gap having opened between them and the playoff bubble. They do not play again until July 12 in Houston at which time both teams could be fully restocked with World Cup returnees. Sky Blue (1-5-4, 7 pts) remain at the bottom ahead of a trip to Portland on Friday night.
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