The Chicago Red Stars, the 2019 NWSL runners-up and 2020 Challenge Cup runners-up, are off to a nightmare start in 2021.
They did not win a game in the preseason Challenge Cup and opened the 2021 season on Sunday with a 5-0 loss at Portland, falling behind 4-0 after the first half hour.
To make matters worse: U.S. national team star Julie Ertz left the game shortly before the fourth goal after being injured in a collision in midfield.
Red Stars coach Rory Dames said Ertz would have an MRI on her right knee that would determine the extent of the injury. He said the goal was "to do everything we can to have her ready for the Olympics."
Ertz started at center back for the USA at the 2015 Women's World Cup and at central midfield when it defended its title four years later in France. She is considered the most indispensable player in the U.S. lineup.
Sunday, May 16 Orlando 1 Washington 1. (Goals: Morgan 84; Hatch 76. Att.: n/a.) Portland 5 Chicago 0. (Goals: Own goal 4, Sinclair 13, Smith 16, 30, Lussi 72. Att.: n/a.)
Saturday, May 15 Racing Louisville 0 Kansas City 0. (Att.: 6,222.) Gotham FC 1 Houston 0. (Goal: Purce 30. Att.: n/a.) OL Reign 0 NC Courage 0. (Att.: 2,104.)