#CHIvNJ Recap: Huerta Scores; A Kai Comeback

Today Chicago Reds Stars played Sky Blue FC to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park. The game started off slow until the 34th minute when Sofia Huerta netted a goal off a beautiful assist from Jen Hoy.

Huerta has scored seven goals in her NWSL career and all seven of these goals have come when Christen Press hasn’t been playing. If the Chicago Red Stars can take advantage of the goal scoring abilities of these two players and develop their on-field chemistry, the Red Stars offense attack will be a dangerous one.

Natasha Kai goes up for a header against Western New York Flash. Photo: Marwan Shousher | Instagram: @shousherphotography

Later in the #CHIvNJ game, a sub I had highly anticipated was made for Sky Blue FC when Natasha Kai subbed into the game in the 63rd minute. As, I mentioned  in my match preview. I was anxious to see Kai play.  Kai is a former member of the USWNT and previously played professionally in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) until the league folded in 2012. Kai had always been an entertaining forward to watch and has scored some fun, quality goals for the US.

It’s not often you see a professional athlete retire from a sport and make a comeback. It’s even more unusual when an athlete makes a comeback after not having played for five years at the age of 32 (an age that many don’t see in their professional careers).

When Kai subbed into the match, I kept on eye on Kai. I wanted her to put on a show like she did in her USWNT playing days, but I also didn’t want her to score on the Red Stars. Kai brought energy to the field for the 26 minutes that she played, which is to be expected considering her vibrant, well-known personality off the field.

Before being subbed out in the 89th minute of the game due to injury, Kai impressed with her quick feet and a backheel to her teammate before injuring herself during a collision in the box a few minutes later.

In the 26 minutes that Kai played today, Sky Blue FC equalized the game with a goal from Leah Galton in the 69th minute giving SBFC a much-needed point on the road.

The Chicago Red Stars extend their unbeaten streak to six games but were unable to earn their fifth win of seven games this season. With one point at home, the Red Stars move into first place – Sky Blue FC are now 2-2-3 and are in sixth place overall.

Moral of the Natasha Kai story:

Don't Quit Your Day Dream.jpg
Photo via: Pinterest – Design via: Nicole Hack

It was great to Kai back in action on the soccer pitch today. As a veteran of the game, her experience will add value to her team whether as a starter or a sub for the team.  Her knowledge of the game will be beneficial to her teammates both on and off the field. Her charismatic personality has an appeal of contagiousness, so I hope it stays spirited and optimistic. I look forward to seeing more from her in 2016 and beyond.


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