BOYDS, MARYLAND (April 28, 2018) – After a month of NWSL action, the Chicago Red Stars had two of their key players return against the Washington Spirit. Samantha Kerr and Julie Ertz made their season debuts Saturday night.
Kerr was off with the Australian Women’s National Team for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. Meanwhile, Ertz was battling a knee injury.
Samantha Kerr, Julie Ertz debut for Chicago in a 1-1 draw against Washington Spirit
Ertz picked up the injury against Germany in the SheBelieves Cup in March.
She entered the match in the 74th minute, replacing Nikki Stanton. Meanwhile, Kerr, who was voted the NWSL’s Player of the Year in 2017, started and featured for a full 90 minutes.
By the time Ertz entered the match all of the goals were scored.
Washington got on the board first at the Maryland SoccerPlex, with Francisca Ordega scoring in the 4th minute. Ordega’s goal, assisted by Mallory Pugh, is her third in three matches. Alyssa Mautz leveled the score on an unassisted goal in the 20th minute.
Chicago picked up three yellow cards in the match from referee Daniel Gutierrez. Mautz, Kerr and Yuki Nagasato all picked up cautionary cards in the draw.
After the match, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe commented on both the match and the harsh weather conditions of rain and wind in Maryland.
“It was really picking up kind of randomly,” Bledsoe, who made three saves, said. “It would be really strong. I couple I hit out of bounds. It wasn’t my best kicking game, but I was just trying to drive it low. It was crazy. There was no wind and then in 30 minutes, it was all against us. We just needed some extra focus.”
— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) April 29, 2018
- Neither team is threatening North Carolina: Right now, the North Carolina Courage sit at No. 1 in the NWSL standings. However, the Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit aren’t far behind. Chicago sits in second place while Washington is inching up more and more, sitting in fifth place. However, despite the immense amount of talent on each team, neither is currently a threat to North Carolina.
- Ertz and Kerr don’t impress: I’ll give some slack to Julie Ertz, since she was only on the pitch for less than 20 minutes. However, there is obviously going to be a large expectation on Samantha Kerr. After scoring 17 goals last season for Sky Blue FC, Chicago could really use some of her goal-scoring prowess. She didn’t impress on the road tonight — but it’s only her first match of the season.
- Ordega the MVP of Washington’s April: Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in a squad full of big names. However, Francisca Ordega isn’t letting that happen to her. Despite wanting a win against Chicago, Ordega scored her third goal in three matches. She’s not being overshadowed by Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch or Andi Sullivan.