Sam Kerr scored with Chicago’s only shot on goal as the Red Stars held 2018 National Women’s Soccer League champions, North Carolina Courage, to a 1-1 draw in the 2019 season opener.
Four Perth Glory players ran out for the Red Stars, with Westfield Matildas star Kerr backed up by her 2018 Westfield W-League teammates Alyssa Mautz, Nikki Stanton and Katie Naughton.
(Lead image courtesy of chicagoredstars.com)
The Courage dominated in 2018, lifting the NWSL shield with 15 points more than the second-placed Portland Thorns, before knocking off their closest rivals in the grand final 3-0.
The last time North Carolina and Chicago met was the Courage's 2-0 semi-final triumph last September, but the Red Stars flipped the script at Sahlen’s Stadium when Kerr opened the scoring on 26 minutes.
The 25-year-old has clinched the past two NWSL golden boots (not to mention the past two Westfield W-League golden boots), and picked up where she left off in 2018, racing around Courage shot-stopper Stephanie Labbé to fire the Red Stars in front.
The home side controlled the match, recording 60% of possession, but they did not get back on level terms until Crystal Dunn finally breached visiting goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher's resolve on 66 minutes.
With a final shot count of 24 to six, Kerr’s being the only Chicago effort that hit the target, the Red Stars fought hard to secure a share of the points.
Meanwhile, it was a winning start for Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison as Washington Spirit sealed a 2-0 victory over Sky Blue FC.
Harrison was an unused substitute in the encounter at Maureen Hendricks Field, while Logarzo did not feature.
Rookie defender Sam Staab make the break through on 59 minutes and Megan Crosson’s header secured the points for Washington in stoppage time.