21 September 2020

NWSL Fall Series round-up: Chicago Red Stars punish wasteful Sky Blue as Portland Thorns ease past Utah Royals

Chicago Red Stars bounced back from their defeat to Washington Spirit with an impressive 4-1 victory over Sky Blue FC.

Sky Blue took the lead after just six minutes when Alyssa Naeher failed to hold Paige Monaghan’s shot and Ifeoma Onumonu was the first to react.

Portland Thorns eased past Utah Royals to kick off their Fall Series campaign (SIPA USA/PA Images)

But it took Chicago just four minutes to hit back as Kealia Watt was slid through and she made no mistake as she curled home to level things up.

Sustained pressure continued to come from the New Jerseyan side in the opening stages, but they found themselves behind shortly before the half hour mark as Zoey Goralski touched the ball around Dijana Haracic and passed into an empty net.

And it was 3-1 just moments before the break as Vanessa DiBernardo rifled in a stunning drive past Haracic and into the bottom corner.

Sky Blue continued to press for a way back into the game in the second half but the fight was beaten out of them when Watt poked home her second to seal the three points for the Red Stars.

Elsewhere, Portland Thorns kicked off their NWSL Fall Series campaign with a routine 3-0 win over the Utah Royals.

Simone Charley broke the deadlock ten minutes before half-time when she brilliantly weaved in and out of the challenges and then fired hard and low into the corner.

It was much of the same in the second half as Portland doubled their lead 18 minutes from time when Sophia Smith looped a superb header over keeper Abby Smith for her first goal for the club.

And a dismal afternoon for Utah was rounded off nine minutes from the end when Lindsey Horan closed down keeper Smith and the ball bounced off her and ended up in the net.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox