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The strong effort in the early parts of the second

The strong effort in the early parts of the second

The strong effort in the early parts of the second

Chicago Red Stars defeated Washington Spirit 3-1 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Sunday. Mal Pugh, Rachel Hill and Morgan Gautrat recorded goals for Chicago, and Trinity Rodman got on the scoresheet for Washington Spirit.

The Spirit entered the match day on a two-game win streak, though the two sides played out the first half to an even tempo, exchanging time and space in their respective halves. Chicago broke through on goal first, with an opening goal from Pugh in the 19th minute.

The goal was the first time Chicago led in the opening 20 minutes of a match this regular season. Chicago continued to exchange attacking opportunities with Washington, though they won more corners and scored a go-ahead goal just before halftime off a corner kick.

Danielle Colaprico provided service from the right corner, connecting with defender Kayla Sharples, who made contact and caused a bit of chaos in the box leaving Hill to clean up and slot the ball across the line.

Second-half shift
Despite the two teams splitting total shots with five apiece, the Red Stars had more attempts on target with three and took the field for the second half with a two-goal lead. The scoreline perhaps providing motivation, the Spirit came out on the front foot in the second 45 minutes. As the team got into more dangerous spaces, they began to win more corner kicks of their own with more looks in front of the goal.

The strong effort in the early parts of the second half paid off in the 71st minute as Rodman pulled a goal back for her team with a sequence on goal that caused defenders and the goalkeeper massive errors.

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The close scoreline was brief, when in the 80th minute Gautrat converted a penalty kick for the Red Stars after a handball penalty was issued against Spirit defender Sam Stabb. Chicago closed out the match, securing all three points, and closing out the regular-season series against the Spirit with two wins and one draw.

Lookahead
The win puts Chicago in third place with 20 points, and Washington Spirit are now in fourth place with 18 points. The match was the third and final regular-season meeting between the two sides this year. As the league standings continue to develop, head-to-head results are the primary tiebreaker for standings, with goal differential the second tiebreaker. The Red Stars will face Orlando Pride on Aug. 8, and the Spirit host Portland Thorns FC on Aug. 7.

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