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NWSL Sunday: Primetime showing for Chicago, North Carolina rivalry

Red Stars celebration
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - JULY 21: Players of Chicago Red Stars celebrate Vanessa DiBernardo's goal (10) during the NWLS soccer game between Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage at SeatGeek Stadium on July 21, 2019 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)

Chicago Red Stars 2, North Carolina Courage 1

There’s nothing like a rivalry in professional sports. Rivalries can happen due to proximity in location or just because there’s a bit of history between two sides. North Carolina and Illinois aren’t next-door neighbors. However, they’re not separated by an entire country — or the Midwest. However, the rivalry between the Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage fermented due to a few lopsided results.

That rivalry was put on display Sunday night, on prime time viewing for the NWSL. As part of a 14-match NWSL and ESPN deal, the match was broadcast on ESPN 2. With a crowd of 17,388 fans in attendance, the match didn’t disappoint. Chicago took the home victory, notching three valuable points, at SeatGeek Stadium.

However, North Carolina did take early momentum, scoring the first goal.

Before scoring, North Carolina forced Alyssa Naeher to make five saves. However, in the 30th minute, Naeher could not stop Lynn Williams. The North Carolina Courage striker was found by Debinha, the Brazilian midfielder, on the side of the box. Williams finished the job, slotting the ball at an angle past Naeher.

Seven minutes later the Red Stars answered. Vanessa DiBernardo made the most of her opportunity on a free kick, completely losing all of her defenders and finding room. She slotted her goal past Stephanie Labbé, for her first goal of the NWSL season.

Meanwhile, in the second half, Australian international Sam Kerr found the back of Labbé’s net in the 58th minute. Kerr’s shot was assisted by Katie Johnson, the Mexican international. Since coming back from the World Cup, Kerr has scored four goals in four matches.

With the three points, Chicago moves up to third place, holding onto 20 points. Meanwhile, the Courage drop down to second place, as the Portland Thorns FC gained three points this weekend with a 2-2 draw against the Utah Royals FC on Friday night.

Up next for the Red Stars is a trip out to the West Coast to face Reign FC in Tacoma, Washington, on Sunday at 4 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, the Courage will make another trip to prime time television with a contest against the Royals on Saturday night at 10 p.m. EST.

Goal Summary

  • North Carolina Courage (Lynn Williams, 30′)
  • Chicago Red Stars (Vanessa DiBernardo, 37′)
  • Chicago Red Stars (Sam Kerr, 58′)

Caution Summary

  • Chicago Red Stars (Katie Naughton, 14′)
  • North Carolina Courage (Jess McDonald, 51′)

— Rachael McKriger

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