Despite a strong Chicago attack for much of the match, visiting Sky Blue FC rallied to hand the Red Stars a 2-2 draw in Lisle Sunday afternoon.
The Red Stars (6-4-2, 20 points) came up empty on several scoring chances in the game, hitting the upright and crossbar throughout match, including on a first-half penalty kick.
"Good lessons learned for the group about how to put a team away," said Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. "They deserved better but we will grow from this and keep going forward. Can't fault the performance or effort."
The Red Stars grabbed a 2-0 halftime lead on goals from Alyssa Mautz and Zakiya Bywaters in the 21st and 31st minutes. Sky Blue (2-6-5, 11 points) rebounded in the second half with a 3-minute scoring stretch when Lindsi Cutshall and Maya Hayes scored in the 60th and 63rd minutes.
After failing to score on a penalty kick that hit the left post in the first half, the Red Stars started the second half by hitting the post twice in two minutes, once on a long-range shot by Vanessa DiBernardo in the 49th followed by captain Lori Chalupny knocking a shot off the crossbar in the 50th.
"Frustrating result for us," said Chalupny. "You can never be happy about blowing a two-goal lead but we do have a young team and I think there were lessons learned today. We have to focus now on Wednesday and put together a more complete performance."
With the tie, the Red Stars move in front of Washington for third place in the National Women's Soccer League standings.
The Red Stars take to the road for two more matches this week when they visit Western New York Flash for a 6 p.m. Wednesday, then turn around and hit the road again to Kansas City for a 7 p.m. Saturday match.