With injuries mounting and international absences to battle through, the Chicago Red Stars fell to the Washington Freedom, 2-0, on Thursday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.
Chicago and starts up a three-game homestand, starting with a 5 p.m. match on Sunday against FC Gold Pride at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. The match is televised live on Fox Soccer Channel.
The Freedom (6-8-7, 25 points) currently holds the fourth playoff position if the season ended today. Sky Blue FC is in fifth (6-9-4, 22 points) and the Red Stars in sixth with a 5-10-6 record and 21 points.
The Red Stars' injury bug continued Thursday as they already were entering the match without Kate Markgraf (concussion).
Red Stars forward Jessica McDonald made her first WPS start, but her day ended early when she was taken off the field in a stretcher in the 12th minute. Red Stars Head Athletic Trainer Laura Behr said that McDonald tore her patellar tendon and is out for the remainder of the season. Chicago had to burn one of its substitutions early when Nikki Washington officially entered the match in the 16th minute.
In the second half, Red Stars midfielder Formiga sprained her ankle and was replaced by Lydia Vandenbergh in the 63rd minute.
Along with the injuries, Chicago had to play Thursday without England international midfielders Karen Carney and Katie Chapman, who are overseas preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Austria on Saturday.
Developmental midfielder and 2010 WPS draft selection Sophie Reiser made her WPS debut when she replaced Washington in the 68th minute, leaving Chicago with a roughly 25-minute span with no remaining substitutions.
Developmental defender and recent signing Christie Shaner made her Red Stars debut, helping Chicago in the central defense with Markgraf out