SoCal FC contributed to this story*
July 26, 2015
EDMOND, Okla. – Chicago Red Stars Reserves defeated SoCal FC on Sunday afternoon to be crowned the new WPSL National Champions. The Red Stars finished their 2015 WPSL season undefeated. SoCal FC was also undefeated up until their final loss.
The Red Stars were the stronger team early on and tested SoCal goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme a few times. She had made four saves before the Red Stars eventually opened the scoring.
The Red Stars’ goal came in the 18th minute. Mary Luba received a pass in the penalty area, and with her first touch, she shot the ball over an oncoming Sammy Jo Prudhomme for the 1-0 advantage.
Just five minutes later, Darian Jenkins and Annie Alvarado combined to score the equalizer. Alvarado was able to rip the ball from the right side of the penalty area and curl it into the left side of the goal.
SoCal was on the attack now with a shift in momentum and good spell of pressure until the end of the half. However, none of their efforts paid off, and the half ended with a shot from the Red Stars’ Lillie Toespern that just zoomed by the right post.
Coming off the half time break, Morgan Andrews ripped a shot from the top of the penalty area, but it went just wide right of the lower right corner.
In the 52nd minute, Prudhomme made yet another huge save on a cross that ended up heading towards the goal. Prudhomme got up to tip it over the ball in spectacular fashion.
The Red Stars took the lead once again on the ensuing corner kick as Ashley Handwork headed Luba’s service in just under the crossbar to make it 2-1.
In the 63rd minute, Jenkins had a good run into the penalty area getting past three defenders for a shot, but she was denied by goalkeeper Monica Gonyo who did well to come out and block the shot.
The Red Stars nearly sealed the win in the 84th minute when they pounced on a weak back-pass to Prudhomme who was way off her line. The ball sailed just wide left of the goal, keeping SoCal in the game.
As much as SoCal tried to find an equalizer, they could not connect well for good opportunities and time ticked away. Chicago took the 2-1 victory, and became the 2015 WPSL Champions while SoCal FC finished second in what was its inaugural season.
Both teams had to get through tough competition in the national championship semifinals to reach the final.
Chicago Red Stars Reserves kept a tough and relentless Oklahoma City FC at bay to pull off a 3-2 victory and secure their spot in the national championship final. The Red Stars Reserves advanced with goals from Mary Luba, Guileana Lopez, and Ashley Hardwork. Oklahoma City FC’s goals were scored by Allison Worsham and Yolanda Thomas. Oklahoma City nearly equalized off a free kick four minutes into stoppage time, but the score line would remain 3-2 in favor of the Chicago Red Stars Reserves.
SoCal FC defeated the Boston Breakers Reserves team 3-0 on Saturday afternoon to punch their ticket to the national championship in their first year of existence. Michelle Enyeart scored the opening goal of the game just seven minutes in. Kodi Lavrusky scored the second, and Darian Jenkins sealed the 3-0 victory with a goal of her own.
This is the first season in two years where the national champion did not emerge from the Pacific-South division. The last time a Midwestern team won the championship was in 2007 when FC Indiana won the national championship. The Chicago Red Stars Reserves were runner-ups in 2011 and 2012.
Congratulations to the Chicago Red Stars Reserves on their first WPSL National Championship! Well done ladies!
*Game play recap written by SoCal FC staff