For the third time in six games this season, the Chicago Red Stars gave up a goal in the first 10 minutes.
For the fourth time they were shut out, losing 1-0 to the expansion Philadelphia Independence on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
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Those trends are wearing very thin with the Red Stars (1-4-1, 4 points), buried in seventh place in the eight-team league and struggling to get out of this rut.
"We're still trying to figure it out, because it's happened in more than one game," defender Marian Dalmy said of giving up the early goals. "It takes every single player to figure it out. And it's not just one, it's not just our coaches. It's something we need to keep working on, because yes, we need to score goals. But we also have to keep the ball out of the back of the net."
"Our game plan tonight was to come out and really get a good early start and put them under pressure and make it difficult for them," coach Emma Hayes said, "but once again we failed to do that. I take full responsibility for that.
"These players care. They care about getting results for this team, and they care about putting in performances that make their fans proud."
The game's lone goal came in the sixth minute, when the Red Stars failed to clear the ball from their defensive third of the field. Amy Rodriguez sent back in a cross from the right side to Joanna Lohman near the penalty spot, and Lohman curled the ball just inside the right post.
Clearly, Hayes is frustrated.
"What do you reckon?" she asked rhetorically. "Yeah, I'm (ticked) off. But I'm also their leader, and by that I can sit here and scratch my head and be disappointed by it, but take a look at their faces. It's not for lack of them wanting to do it. We have a really good environment here ... but we get really deflated when we go behind after five minutes and then we have to climb ourselves out of a barrel.
"I'm more frustrated that we can't carry out the game plan in the first period so that we can set ourselves in a good position."