The Red Stars collected a vital three points from Sky Blue FC on Saturday night to bolster their playoff position. Their 3-1 victory left Sky Blue six points in arrears and jumped the Red Stars into third place over the Flash who were held to a 2-2 draw against the Dash.
Stephanie McCaffrey got the Red Stars on the board first with a half shot-half cross from near the right goal line and hit the inside of the far post and trickled in. The goal was the second for McCaffrey in as many starts since being acquired from the Breakers last month. It looked like Sky Blue had equalized before halftime, but the assistant referee ruled the ball was cleared before crossing the line. A wild sequence ensued that ended with the ball in the net but Sarah Killion had been whistled offside.
The Red Stars opened up in the second half. Christen Press ran onto a Vanessa DiBernardo through ball and beat Caroline Stanley to make it 2-0. Later a corner kick was flicked to the back post by Arin Gilliland and a waiting Sofia Huerta buried it to make it 3-0.
Sky Blue pulled one back in stoppage time when Sam Kerr finished a Leah Galton cross to end Alyssa Naeher’s efforts for a clean sheet. Moments before the goal, Sky Blue’s Kelley O’Hara was helped off the field without putting any weight on her right leg after being clipped from behind by Alyssa Mautz. Mautz received a yellow card for the foul.
The Red Stars (8-4-4, 28 pts) return home Sunday, September 4 to host Seattle Reign FC who beat the Thorns on Saturday and are hot on the heels of the playoffs. Sky Blue (6-6-4, 22 pts) are in Kansas City earlier that day and need wins and help to get in.