Tough Loss, Great Lessons

Jen Eberhardy Takes Free Kick Against Red Stars Reserve Team
June 7, 2018

Torrent Women Lose First Match Of The Year

Torrent battle Red Stars ReservesWednesday night was the greatest challenge in the Torrent Women’s young season. The Chicago Red Stars Reserve team fielded 14 players that are tied to the Chicago Red Stars professional women’s team (of the NWSL). The Red Stars Reserves started the WPSL season with back-to-back victories last weekend, defeating newcomer Dakota Fusion 8-0, and Minnesota Twin Stars 11-0.  With those results, the women’s squad  knew they were in for a tough match.

In the opening minutes of the game, it was obvious that the Red Stars were well organized and very offensive minded. They played a very fast, physical game. Not physical in the sense that there were reckless tackles or overly aggressive play. More in the sense that they were a very dominate, no nonsense team. They moved the ball quickly, and went into all tackles and challenges with conviction. They were not a team that was going to back down.

“It took some early saves from Torrent goalkeeper Elaina LaMacchia to wake us up to the level of play that was in front of us. Slowly we adjusted and the game became very competitive, with scoring chances on both ends of the field,” stated Coach Mark Litton.

The best Torrent chance of the first half came when Jen Eberhardy took a free kick just outside the 18 yard box with about 10 minutes left in the first half. She forced the Red Stars keeper into her best save of the night as she tipped a well struck ball over the cross bar. The first half ended 0-0.

Second Half Action

The coaching staff made a few half time adjustments to try and counter the Red Stars strong offense and long bouts of possession. Unfortunately, 4 minutes into the second half saw the Red Stars score their first goal of the game. It came from a corner kick to the left of the Torrent goal. It was a well struck ball to the near post that was deftly flicked inside the near post. LaMacchia got her hands to the ball, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the goal.

Torrent versus Chicago Red Stars Reserve TeamEven though the Torrent were now down a goal early in the second half, it didn’t rattle them. They came right back with the same level of energy, and were determined to get back into the game.   The Red Stars seemed to have also raised their confidence level with that opening goal as they went into long bouts of possession, moving the ball confidently all over the field, looking for other opportunities to score goals.  But the Torrent women’s defense held strong under pressure with the back line clearing several dangerous through balls, and LaMacchia once again making several close range saves.

The Red Stars constant offensive pressure finally broke down the Torrent defense late in the game with two more goals five minutes a part, with a goal in the 75th and 80th minutes of the game.  The Torrent coaching staff took advantage of the free substitution rule and gave all 9 subs an opportunity to get minutes of playing time throughout the game.

Tough Challenge Accepted

“This was a perfect game for us (coaching staff) to continue our job of player evaluation. With this being probably our most competitive opponent, it gave us the perfect environment to see all of our players in action.” added Coach Litton after the game. “As I had previously commented, we knew this was going to be our toughest challenge of the season, and we were right. The Red Stars are a great professional organization and their WPSL team showed the level of quality and commitment they have to developing the women’s game.  The Red Stars coach was very complimentary towards our team after the game, stating that it was the most competitive game they have faced yet. This game will help us as we prepare for the rematch with the Red Stars at home on July 8th”

The Torrent women have little time to rest as they have their home opener this Sunday at 5pm against the Minnesota Fire. They will however, come after the Fire with a lot of lessons under their belt.