BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Red Stars defeated North Carolina Courage 1-0 at SeatGeek Stadium. The lone goal was scored by Red Stars midfielder Rachel Hill, who recorded her first regular season goal as a Chicago Red Star.
It was the first regular season meeting between the two sides since their 2019 NWSL Championship final meeting. The two teams have undergone significant roster changes over the last two off-seasons, and are both getting off to slower than usual starts to their respective regular seasons.
The Red Stars got off to a quick start against North Carolina, playing in a bit of a faux three back, challenging the Courage with an effective counter press. Courage failed to record a shot on goal after 25 minutes, as the Red Stars continued to close down space in the midfield, and earned a corner kick just before the half hour mark.
Chicago converted on the set piece, getting the opening goal in the 29th minute after some chaos in the box from the service. Rachel Hill was credited with the goal.
Courage were more active in Chicago's half after the goal, but only recorded two total shots in the first half, and the two sides entered halftime with the Red Stars leading in total shots (13) and attempts on target (6).
Second half shift
Chicago remained active in their attack to start the second half as the Courage continued to try and play their way into the game. North Carolina earned more corners as Chicago had to defend the south goal trying to fight off the shadows and a Courage attack at the same time.
Courage made substitutions just past the hour mark, and utilized all five of their off the bench options in an effort to make adjustments and get different looks against Chicago. The equalizer never came despite the Courage beefing up their shot total to 10 versus the Red Stars 16. Courage recorded a franchise low one shot attempt on target.
Let's take a look at some player ratings from the match, all ratings are based on 1-10 scale with a 1 being like an early red card send off and and 10 being a hat trick level performance.
Sarah Woldmoe, Chicago Red Stars: The midfielder is in her first year with Chicago Red Stars, but her familiarity with so many of her former 2012 U-20 teammates has accelerated her comfort on the pitch with the Red Stars and she was a key figure in the midfield against North Carolina's staple box midfield. She completed 75% of her passes in the first half, highest of any midfielder on either side of the ball and worked to close space, force transitions, and provide leadership in a narrow win. Rating: 7.5
Mal Pugh, Chicago Red Stars: Not on the scoresheet for all her efforts today but Pugh's work on and off the ball for Chicago has been relentless over the last three matches, with this recent outing against North Carolina no exception. Three total shot attempts, with two on target to go along with two chances created. Rating: 7
Abby Erceg, North Carolina Courage: The center back had to cover a lot of ground against Chicago's attack, and led the team in total touches with 83 and in passes with 65. The team captain was also heavily involved in set piece play for the Courage as the team earned more corners in the second half. Rating: 7
Lynn Williams, North Carolina Courage: The forward was active for North Carolina in the oppositions half, but was unable to break through on goal. Williams would often try to connect in the final third with her teammates, but was given little support despite leading all North Carolina's attackers in total shots with three. Rating: 6
The win gives Chicago seven points over five matches and will have a break during the international window with their next match on June 19 against Washington Spirit. North Carolina will host OL Reign on June 19. Both teams will have players representing the U.S. women's national team in the Summer Series taking place June 10 through June 16.