Naughton, DiBernardo lead Red Stars to 2-0 win over Utah Royals FC

The Red Stars are now 4-3-7

The Chicago Red Stars earned their fourth win of the season, 2-0 over Utah Royals FC in Week 13. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

The Chicago Red Stars beat Utah Royals FC 2-0 on Saturday night to climb into fifth place in the NWSL standings. Katie Naughton and Vanessa DiBernardo scored as the Red Stars closed out Week 13 in the NWSL at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.

The Red Stars are now unbeaten in their last three games, going 2-0-1 in that span, after a string of seven games without a win. They are now 4-3-7 on the season with 19 points.

The loss for Utah Royals FC drops them to 4-3-5 (17 points) and comes just a week after their big upset of the previously unbeaten North Carolina Courage. Utah sits in sixth place in the NWSL standings.

After a scoreless first half, the Red Stars got on the board first in the 62nd minute. After a handball called on Utah defender Becca Moros near midfield, Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico served a long service into the box. Naughton rose up and headed it home for her the first goal of her NWSL career. Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith hit her face on the post trying to make the save, but stayed in the game.

The Red Stars doubled the lead just eight minutes later. DiBernardo avoided a Utah tackle at midfield and passed the ball up to Kerr running down the right wing. Kerr dribbled into the box and then passed back to DiBernardo, now open at the top of the penalty area. DiBernardo took one touch, turned and shot with her right foot and hit a low, hard shot past Smith to put the Red Stars up 2-0.

DiBernardo returned to action for Chicago last week after missing the start of the season with a pelvic stress fracture. She subbed into Saturday night’s match in the 66th minute and scored just four minutes later.

Kerr was busy all night, recording two shots on goal and six chances created.

Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato had a great chance to make it 3-0 in the 73rd minute, but her effort was denied by the crossbar. Nagasato finished the game with five total shots and two chances created.

For the Red Stars, midfielder Morgan Brian was a late scratch from the starting lineup and was replaced by Nikki Stanton. Brian signed a contract with the Red Stars earlier this week and Saturday night would’ve been her 2018 season debut.

Casey Short started at left back, her first start of the year, after returning from injury last week as well. She played the first half before being replaced by Sarah Gorden. Julie Ertz once again played center back for the second straight game and made eight clearances and one block in the game.

New Utah forward Christen Press and defender Sam Johnson, who were acquired in a trade with the Red Stars and Dash earlier this week, did not appear in the match. Neither did new Chicago defender Brooke Elby, who was also part of the trade.

 

This story will be updated.