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Independence top Red Stars in first road win

It’s always good to score early, particularly when you are on the road. Joanna Lohman did just that when she scored her first goal of the season in the sixth minute of the Philadelphia Independence’s visit to Chicago Red Stars, burying a ball from Amy Rodriguez. Lohman had scored in three of the team’s four preseason matches.

It was the third time this season that Chicago has allowed a goal in the first ten minutes of play.

Independence coach Paul Riley said, “”We’ve been talking about deep runs and we knew Chicago played a little flat in the back. And we figured we maybe could get beyond them and get the midfielders beyond them, and Joanna Lohman obviously made a great run.”

“We go behind and then we panic,” said Chicago coach Emma Hayes, “and rather than just settle into the game we want to take it in our own hands individually and it’s become a stress for the team because it hasn’t put goals in.”

Chicago did come back quickly with two dangerous chances. A hard shot from Megan Rapinoe bounced off the head of Allison Falk and a dangerous header from Christiane that skimmed just wide of the far post.

Philadelphia answered with more pressure of their own. Rodriguez saw her 21st minute effort saved by Red Star keeper Jillian Loyden. A blast from 25 yards out by almost made it two for Lohman. In first half stoppage time Rodriguez found the back of the net only to have the goal disallowed due to an offsides call.

The Red Stars seemed to find their edge in the second half with Kosavare Asllani coming off the bench to replace Rapinoe and the Independence shifting their game plan to protect their lead. Asllani immediately made her presence known with a shot in the 46th minute being followed a minute later by a header. But Independence keeper Karina LeBlanc was equal to both efforts.

The lone Independence scoring chance came in the 73rd minute when a poor clearance from Loyden was intercepted by Lianne Sanderson. Sanderson passed to Rodriguez but her shot was saved by Loyden.

Chicago continued to pressure the Independence, tallying up eight of their twelve shots in the game during the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

The 1-0 victory comes on the heels of a disappointing 1-0 loss to St. Louis last weekend and just ahead of the international break. The Independence, now 3-1-2 and in second place in the league, will finish the series of away games when they face Washington Freedom on May 30. When the two teams last met on April 25, the Independence notched up a 3-1 victory, their first of the season.

Photo Courtesy of Robyn McNeil and Philadelphia Independence

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