The Chicago Red Stars find themselves alone at the top of the NWSL table after beating the Washington Spirit 1-0 on Saturday night.
Yuki Nagasato scored the game’s lone goal in the 65th minute, and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made several huge saves as the Red Stars leap-frogged the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC to take over first place in the NWSL standings.
The win is Chicago’s fifth straight in NWSL action, including four clean sheets, and improved their road record to 5-2-1 on the season.
The two sides played to a scoreless draw in the first half, but the offensive action picked up in the second half. It culminated for Chicago in the 65th minute when defender Casey Short beat her defender off the dribble and looped a left-footed cross into the penalty area. Nagasato was able to get her head on the ball and pushed it home, giving the Red Stars a lead with 25 minutes to go in the contest.
Naeher, who faced off against Team USA teammate Rose Lavelle in the game, made several big saves, including a sprawling punching stop in the 60th minute off of the fellow World Cup winner. Lavelle tried to hit a cross across the box, but Naeher punched it away safely to keep her clean sheet intact.
In the 69th minute, Naeher made another punching save on a quality shot from Ashley Hatch, and from there the Red Stars’ defense came up big in preventing good-quality chances from in close.
The Red Stars will be back in action on Wednesday night when they take on last-place Sky Blue FC. After that game they’ll come home for an Aug. 21 contest against the Orlando Pride at Seatgeek Stadium.