There was more than pride at stake when Alanna Kennedy faced off against Westfield Matildas teammate Sam Kerr this morning.
Kennedy’s rock-bottom Orlando side needed three points from their daunting trip to title-chasing Chicago to keep their National Women’s Soccer League campaign alive.
And despite a barrage of shots from NWSL top-dog Kerr – who came close to extending her lead in the Golden Boot race when she cracked a stunning drive against the crossbar early on - it was Kennedy and Orlando who emerged with a shock 2-1 victory in Chicago’s backyard.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play in the 33rd minute through Kerr’s Perth Glory partner in crime Rachel Hill and doubled it when Brisbane Roar star Chioma Ubogagu lashed home on the hour mark.
Kerr kept the Pride defence occupied as the Red Stars mounted a second-half assault, and pressure eventually told when Kennedy was sent off in the 90th minute after preventing her Australian teammate from running onto a ball in the box.
Tierna Davidson eventually got Chicago on the board but it was too little too late. The loss could be a big blow to the Red Stars’ title hopes, while Kennedy and Orlando are celebrating a win which keeps them mathematically in the hunt for the Final series.
Spirit held by Utah
Elsewhere, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Harrison and Elise Kellond-Knight were left frustrated as Washington Spirit drew 0-0 with Utah Royals.
Washington outshot their opponents 18-7 as they searched for three points to boost their bid for a top-four spot, with Kellond-Knight and Logarzo deployed in left-back and left-midfield roles respectively.
Amy Harrison was an unused substitute.